YKK Stories

2019-08-19 Issue 110 – Fundamental Behavior 8 – Make customers a priority

August 19, 2019
Author: YKK
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Within our Core Values, there are three key areas: Employees, Society, and Customers.  When focused on customers, our Core Values direct us to “Insist on Quality in Everything.”  This holds true for both internal and external customers.

There’s no question that we would not survive without our customers.  In this week’s Fundamental Behavior, the key statement regarding customers is to “Understand both your internal and external customer’s needs.”  Each type of customer, both internal and external, has unique needs that are directly related to one another. Because of this connection, internal customers have a direct link to the external customer’s experience and the quality of product or service they receive.

Lee Cockerell, retired Executive Vice President of Walt Disney World, stated, “Your customers hold you to a high standard. If you want to achieve true excellence, raise that bar even higher for yourself, your colleagues, and everyone around you.”  Here are some ways that we can raise that bar.

For Internal Customers:

  • Create Service Targets – Set targets for employees that meet downstream expectations.
  • Employee Training – Give employees the tools and training needed to meet those expectations.
  • Manage Performance – Follow up and give feedback to employees and make changes where necessary.
  • Job Swap – Communicate to see how the upstream process is done. It can be a beneficial exercise to have employees from related, dependent departments meet and explain what they do and how their job is done.
  • Process Improvement Teams – Use employees to help resolve internal process issues or departmental problems by creating cross-functional teams that represent the entire process.

For External Customers:

  • Give them a call – Establish a relationship with the customer. We may already know that the customers who buy from us repeatedly like our products, but it’s nice to know exactly why.
  • Ask for specific feedback – Gaining information on the customer’s experience will allow us to assess how well our service and products meet their expectations.
  • Follow Up – Establish trust in customers by letting them know that we hear their voice. Let them know what type of changes we’re making based on their input.
  • Establish Loyalty – Allow customers to feel a sense of ownership in the product that they purchase from us.
  • Provide Resources – Give customers the tools to answer questions about our products. Our goal should be to answer customers’ questions before they reach out to us.

Remember, business isn’t finished once the sale is complete or the finished part moves to the next process.

Daymon Loyd
Plant Manager, Residential Products
YKK AP America