Experts say there are less than 200 board shops left in North America—a fact that amazes me to no end. The other day, I was looking at a plan I developed for a company 12 years ago. In that plan, I said that there were less than 600 shops left on this continent—a difference of 400.
There is some disagreement as to how many shops there were in North America at the peak. Some say 1,800, while others say 1,200, so let’s split the difference and say there were once 1,500 North American shops. That’s still not a pretty picture when you consider there are less than 200 today.
During this peak time, the total global PCB market was approximately $10 billion. North America had about 70% of that business, or about $7 billion. Now, the market is over $70 billion with less than 5%, or maybe even as little as 4%, built in North America. It’s kind of scary.
But, once again, change is in the air. More companies are evaluating other countries as an alternative to buying their boards from China, for obvious reasons. People are looking for PCB solutions, for example, in South Korea, India, Vietnam, Thailand, and Europe, as well as North America. The world is flattening some more, and the PCB business is spreading to other world spaces and markets.
This means that we all have to be on our best behavior. We must do the best we can to capture—and, in some cases, recapture—more PCB business. That means providing extraordinary service if we want to gain more business. Those of us in the PCB fabrication business have to push ourselves beyond any place we have ever gone before.
We must elevate ourselves to a new level that will impress our customers to the point of increasing their business with us. We have to deliver customer service that goes beyond the normal level of good all the way to greatness.
Much of The Simple Truths of Service: Inspired by Johnny the Bagger by Barbara Glanz and Ken Blanchard was inspired by a supermarket bagger named Johnny. In case you think your company is too pedestrian to lead the way when it comes to customer service, what is more pedestrian than bagging groceries? If a bagger can make a difference, then you can as well. Here are three of Johnny’s ideas for delivering excellent customer service.
1. Deliver such good customer service that customers talk about you.
True story—at the store where Johnny worked, he was such a good customer service maven that the line at his checkout counter was three times longer than all the others because people wanted to share his customer service “warmth.” Can you say that about your customer service?
2. Great customer service is a choice.
Every day, when you go to work, you decide what kind of day it is going to be and what kind of service you are going to deliver. It is always up to you. And here’s a neat little secret—delivering great customer service is uplifting as much for the person delivering that great service as it is to the person getting that great customer service, if not more.
3. Great customer service brings customers back.
There is an old saying that goes, “Great relationships are forged in adversity.” Even when you have a problem—and we all do from time to time—the way you handle that problem will greatly exemplify your customer service aptitude. Remember that the true definition of grace under pressure is when you stay calm and keep your head about you when everyone else is losing theirs.
And here is one last thing that business owners are going to love: Ken Blanchard said, “Profit is the applause you get for taking care of your customers and creating a motivating environment for your people.”
Take care of yourself, and your business, by taking care of your customers. There are fewer than 200 PCB competitors in North America today, and all you have to do is beat them to thrive. Keep in mind that the industry average for overall performance is still far below 85% for delivery and quality. Think about how truly outstanding you will be when the company known for on-time delivery, excellent quality, and fantastic customer service is your company. Just like Johnny the bagger, customers will be lined up at your door in anticipation of experiencing your great customer service.
It’s only common sense.