“The first step in exceeding your customer’s expectations is to know those expectations.” Roy Hollister Williams
It is with this quote ringing in our ears that we embarked on finding out what our customers thought about us. We created a survey and then asked all our customers to complete it, as honestly as they could. Were we a little nervous? Of course. As a business we’ve had our fair share of problems and issues, but we really felt that we’d overcome these over the last few years and that our business had seen growth as a result of a clearer focus on our core competencies, resulting in top service and quality.
We wanted to discover a little more about you and drill down a little further into what you like and dislike about working with Fero. This wasn’t an exercise in stroking our own ego’s, but rather an important step in understanding the issues and making changes to our business accordingly. We didn’t expect to hear all good news, and we have clearly heard what we need to be working on!
Overall I was not surprised with the results. We feel that we are ahead of our competition in most areas but still have some way to go to become the benchmark for the industry. Fero will lead the industry as “the first choice in connectivity”, and this survey helps us to see where our efforts are best focused in achieving this vision.
82% of customers see Fero as being very or extremely professional.
88% believe they have a good or very good relationship with Fero.
86% of customers think that Fero understands their needs quite or extremely well.
Personally I would like to be in the mid 90’s for these measures. I feel that they are key indicators of performance and market perception and we need to be higher.
Delivery on time is critical to our customers and to our ongoing mission of supporting “sustainable local manufacture and ensuring that NZ manufactures are leaders on the world stage.” At the moment we have been rated at 92% for delivery on time. I feel that this is close to where we want to be sitting. Our goal this year is to have a DIFOTIS rating of over 95% and we are well on the way to achieving that.
Somewhat disappointingly only 50% said that Fero’s quality was better than the competitors, 43% said that it was the same, and 7% thought it was somewhat worse. In our industry quality is very important and we need to ensure that we are leading the market in this area. 7% gives us a strong message that there is improvement to be made here.
75% of our customers thought that our service is better than the competition. While it is reassuring to be this far ahead of the rest, a goal of at least 85% has been set.
THE POWER OF RECOMMENDATION
We firmly believe that a good indicator of how well you’re doing in business is whether your customers are prepared to recommend you. After all, NZ is a small country and word-of-mouth is vital to success. So, we were delighted that 86% of customers said they would happily recommend us to a colleague. And we ask you to tell as many of your colleague about us as you’re able, in 2015.
Fero has core competencies and experience in a broad number of areas. It’s important to us that customers benefit from our experience, so we were delighted that 80% of respondents believe that we add value to their business. This takes us beyond being simply a supplier, and more towards being a partner. When assessing relationships they range from the bottom, being price based relationships, to the ultimate of being strategic partners. Moving forwards as a business, we want to focus more on long term partnership relationships, in which we feel we can make a real difference to a customers’ business; a relationship with open dialogue and mutual understanding.
We asked you to highlight the main benefit of working with Fero and were delighted with what you had to say. Key words kept coming up again and again, so we analysed them and placed them in a word cloud where the size of the word is linked to the number of times it was used in your feedback. You acknowledged how important it is that we’re local, the strength of our relationship and that we offer good quality. We work hard at developing our customer relationships and continue to invest in QA to ensure quality – thanks for noticing!
On the subject of our account managers, the feedback was very positive here too. As you can see from the below diagram they are definitely doing more than drinking coffee all day, and it is very satisfying to see that we have a team who have great relationships with our customers.
We received some very clear messages in terms of what you want to see us improve and change. Two subjects continually popped up in your comments.
- Leadtimes. You want these to be shorter. We hear this loud and clear and as part of our strategic planning we are working out how we can provide a turn around that cannot be equalled in the market. More on this in future correspondence.
- You want us to help with better solutions. Somehow word has got out that we have a bunch of engineers that know their stuff. You have asked that we provide more technical expertise to help you with key issues and provide answers through our engineering team.
When asked what we could do to make your business more profitable you all told us to drop our prices…(I think we walked into that one) however when compared to our competitors, 50% of you said our prices were about the same and 31% said they were lower to a great deal lower. It is not easy to provide better service and quality than the rest at lower prices but we seem to be doing it!
When asked what frustrates you when dealing with Fero, 80% said nothing! 89% of you were satisfied with Fero as a supplier to your business.
I am glad to be able to provide a summery of the results of the survey. If anyone would like a full report then please don’t hesitate to get in touch with me on 021 889 691 or at firstname.lastname@example.org
We all appreciate the feedback and will be using it to continue to improve our delivery to you.