There was a time when the information you shared with your customers was limited. It’s easy to see why this was the case in the pre-internet days. Sharing information meant a phone call, a fax report, or even snail mail. These days are now long gone.
Can you imagine if USPS, UPS, or Amazon suddenly stopped allowing you to track packages? In today’s world, with internet access to so much information, there is an expectation to constantly know the status of items you purchased online.
On the business side of things, wouldn’t it be nice for your customers to see the status of their orders? Do you offer some online access to inform your customers of the work you are doing for them? Additionally, can your customers get order history, reprint invoices, view shipping documents with signatures? If not, you are operating in pre-internet mode.
Getting the right business software that allows access to both you and your customers can be a game changer. Here at Bluestreak | Bright AM we offer a Customer Connector module that does just that! It allows customers to have on-line, real-time, 24/7 access to their order status,
certification statements, work order history, and more. You decide what level of access is right for each customer and select which customers will have access.
One of the success stories I heard involved a very contentious expediter for a foundry. He was calling a heat treater several times a day asking, “where are my parts” and “when will they be finished.'' This usually resulted in a supervisor walking around the shop looking for orders and parts. A great deal of time was spent doing the detective work. The heat treater started using software which allowed the expediter to see his list of orders with an expected delivery date. This changed the relationship dramatically. Instead of the frequent contentious calls asking about the orders, the calls were fewer and involved more of prioritizing those orders. This helped the foundry get important orders done quicker. A simple website created a collaboration. With this kind of service, why would the expediter use any other heat treater? The more information you can share, the more your customers become locked into your business.
In conclusion, using web searches has become the default way to get information. A quick check of order status done via a customer web portal instead of a phone call is the expectation. A phone call should not be required to get basic information that is already available in your system. Are you sharing information with your customers? If not, maybe you should consider giving this option to your customers.
Even the Thomas Register of American Manufacturers has become ThomasNet.