* Customer Service – The missing link within…

There are many, many comments and blogs across the web stating that Customer Service is critical to the success of the business yet so many businesses are failing in their customer service – and dismally so.

There are just as many sites informing people of how to provide great customer service, with statements such as “customer is always right”  to apologising personally and sincerely to the customer whenever there is a mistake or error, even if it was the customers fault.

I actually agree with 90% of the ideas and protocols of how to deal with a customer. But most of these actions and ideas are about “making the Customer happy” now.  This is all good stuff, but what is needed is the attitude not just the actions and words, customers do know how you feel about them, irrespective of what you say or do.

I have found that if you do not genuinely and sincerely (already) care for your customers, then you need to think, act and feel that the customer in front of you is the only customer you have, and what can you do to make them come back, and be happy to do so! Its not just about making them happy now.  If you are focused on their return visit, you act, say and behave differently.  They will feel you value them more, rather than “just making them happy and keeping them quiet” and they are more likely let you know what you need to do differently (in a nicer way).

You do not need to give away profits, as buying customer loyalty this way will send you broke.  It is well known customers will gladly come back to a store selling average products at normal prices if the service is great, they do not return to those with great products at less than normal prices if the service is bad, or even average in some cases.

My algorithm illustrates the value of true Customer Service
Loyalty = (Quality / Price) x Service

Rating

1

5

9

Service

Poor

Average

Fantastic

Quality

Bad

Average

Perfect

Price

Cheap

Average

Expensive

The effect when all extreme variables are compared

Nil benefit

Price only

Quality only

Service only

Q +  P

S + P

S + Q

All as  Benefit

Service

1

1

1

9

1

9

9

9

Quality

1

1

9

1

9

1

9

9

Price

9

1

9

9

1

1

9

1

Loyalty

0.11

1

1

1

9

9

9

81

The difference with each of these options, is that Quality and Price are a cost to provide, whereas Service is really just an attitude, and could be considered value at no cost, so if you can only supply 2 out of the 3, supply either “Service and Price” or “Service and Quality” – it is the cheapest option.

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* Supply Chain Overview – A Generic interpretation

I have noticed over the years the term “Supply Chain” used in a number of different contexts.  Some of what I read had me pondering, thinking that the meaning may be morphing into something else, for example adverts for jobs looking for a Supply Chain Manager yet the role was traditionally a Purchasing Manager – based on the tasks allocated to the role.

It just appears that some have tried to keep up with the trends and used newer terms but in the wrong way, whether through misunderstanding or up-selling the role. Using the above example I could understand the job title being Supply Manager.

So I looked through my reading materials and across the web to see if someone had drafted an overview of the supply chain on a function bases, not systems or processes. The best, only one really, was found in a project for AUSTROADS  (AP-R150). The aim of Austroads was to improve knowledge and understanding of the freight industry and the customers it services.

I my attempt to get a clearer impression of how the current Supply Chain functions tie together I expanded the diagram published by Austroads. My amendments are based on industries I have had experience with including manufacturing, distribution, wholesale and MRO.

This, I believe is a good representation (Click PDF below) and can be validated by turning it into a real world application by just adding “Manager” after most of the functions shown.  This is the hierarchy I have seen in the majority of cases, although functions can be combined depending on the size of the company.

Over the top of this of cause, can be laid systems such as MRP, DRP, ERP, etc.

I would be interested to see if you have other options or configuration.

PDF: Supply Chain Overview diagram