Are Customers Getting Ready to Stray From the Fold?

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Customer Fold6 Ways That Manufacturers Can Exploit Business Metrics To Maintain Customer Satisfaction

What a sinking feeling when you find out that your customer is getting ready to part ways and give their business to someone else. You knew something was up when they didn’t engage with you like they used to. You wondered why they took a pass on those special offers they used to jump on before.

Was it something you said? Did you miss the mark on getting product to them when promised? Has product quality been a consistent issue lately? Were you totally out of the loop on everything that was happening with the account and now it’s too late to save it?

Sales, operations and other executives within manufacturing organizations often have to deal with situations like this at one time or another. But with all the business intelligence technology that abounds today, everyone across a manufacturing enterprise should have a pulse on how well their company is performing for customers so they’re not caught off guard with accounts that are preparing to stray from the fold.

Manufacturers have come to realize over the years that a satisfied customer is a valuable asset that must be protected in a highly competitive market. In many respects, today’s BI solutions provide some of the “insurance” needed by businesses to maintain customer satisfaction and loyalty.

Business analytics and reports can shed invaluable insights on operations-related performance and its impact on customers by letting you see a number of things quickly before any issues turn into lost business and revenue for you.

  • For example, having the ability to analyze product return patterns over time can help you pinpoint potential problems related to product quality, fill rates, delivery performance and other areas – all of which directly impact your customers.
  • Comparing order fill rates and order line fill rates can help you determine if customers are being negatively affected by product shorts or overages and what’s causing the variances. Is something amiss with production? Are suppliers late in their deliveries to you, causing a chain reaction the negatively impacts your customers in the end?
  • Assessing delivery performance trends is critical, too. Are your products being delivered late, causing stock-outs or a myriad of other problems for your accounts? Have early delivers forced some of your customers to assume higher costs related to warehousing?
  • Identifying what products are causing backorders and the duration of backorders can also assist you in addressing supplier, production or logistics-related issues on a proactive basis.
  • Having the ability to rank and measure the severity and type of customer complaints, along with how well customer service representatives are responding to them, can further extend the visibility that you have into your accounts once orders have been shipped to them.

Measuring all aspects of the customer supply chain can provide the insight needed to spot potential problems and rectify them long before any of your accounts even consider straying from the fold.

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This post was written by Pat Hennel