Monday, 25 August 2014

Manufacturers: 5 Ways to Build a Successful Relationship with Your Customers & Suppliers

Manufacturers: 5 Ways to Build a Successful Relationship with  Your Customers & Suppliers
The manufacturing industry runs on inventory, labor, machines, tools – and people. Even with top-of-the-line equipment, if you don’t have a successful working relationship with your customers and suppliers, then you won’t have much luck overtaking the competition. Here are 5 tips to help your company create a trusting, personal and profitable relationship with the people who matter.

1.     Foolproof Inventory Control
Inventory control is the best way to build a reliable reputation with your customers and suppliers. Ensure you have a system in place that automatically tracks your inventory and notifies you when work orders are needed for components and sub-components. Make sure all your employees have access to this real-time data, so that your whole team is on the same page. A foolproof inventory management system will help every part of your business run smoothly so that you can meet deadlines and deliver on promises.
2.     Up-to-Date Communication
Timing is everything. Delivering prompt quotations, invoices and work orders, sending email updates, and tracking shipments makes it easier for your customers and suppliers to complete their end of the job on time, which in turn helps your business run smoothly. Not to mention keeping everyone in the loop builds their trust in your team and ensures they continue doing business with you.
3.     Successful Brand Image
Looks do matter. Consistent branding, slick looking forms, a clean website, and a recognizable logo all help establish your company as professional and personable, which will impress your customers and suppliers. Social media is another fantastic way to build your brand’s personality and establish yourself as an expert in your field; you can interact with your customers and suppliers on a conversational level, and keep them up-to-date on relevant and interesting industry updates.
4.     Effective Contact Management
When something goes wrong, the last thing you have time for is finding a phone number. Make sure you have a comprehensive contact management system that allows you to quickly and easily get in touch with your customers and suppliers. Allow your entire team access to this database, so that everyone can reach out directly to the people they need. With multiple employees making contact, it’s important to keep track of every interaction made with a customer or supplier; this way your team has every piece of the puzzle they need to assess the current situation and make the right call.
5.     Easy Online & Phone Support
Communication is a two-way street. Make sure it is simple for customers and suppliers to get in touch with you. List a phone number or email contact on your website and company forms, and ensure people receive a timely and personable response. It’s also a good idea to include your hours and holiday schedule on your website and answering machine, so that people know when they can expect to reach you.

How do you maintain a successful relationship with your customers and suppliers? Let us know in the comments!