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Give Your Best Operator to Your Customer

(August 2006) posted on Tue Aug 22, 2006

Save time and money by making your employee your customer's employee.

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By Stephen Beals

Here’s an idea worth considering: Take your best production person and send him out of the building to work for your customers. In fact, it might be a good idea to send this person to work for some of your worst customers.

There’s a method to this seeming madness. Your best production people are probably already spending the bulk of their time fixing jobs that have been sent by that small percentage of customers who struggle with preparing good files. your best operator is most likely the person who spends the most time fixing those problems-after all, he or she is the individual who knows the most about how to deal with troublesome files.

Consider this: You may believe that your employees work for you, and of course they do. But when it comes right down to it, all of your employees really work for your customers. And the truth is, even if you can bill out time for correcting bad files, it’s very difficult to recoup the true cost of lost production time and lowered efficiency.

So, why wait for the jobs to get to you to fix them? Wouldn’t it be a lot more economical to have them arrive correct in the first place? The customers who regularly send you bad files are costing you a lot of money. Why not spend a few hundred dollars sending someone to work with them in-house, in their environment, on their jobs?

Not only will the client company gain the knowledge it needs to prepare files properly, but your shop will also gain some inside knowledge about their company. By working directly with the individuals who are creating your customer’s files, and helping them through the process, you’ll gain the inside track when it comes time to select a company to print those jobs. In addition, you’ll garner some idea of the jobs they work on that you currently do not output.

But it’s important to make one thing clear: When you send an employee to a customer site, make sure everyone knows that, for those couple of days, that employee is working only for that customer. This is critical. Your customer needs to be able to feel as though your employee is their employee.