Imagine you go to a nice new restaurant and after a few minutes, a server takes your order. Maybe it takes ten minutes to get your beverages. Then the server seems to disappear. A half-hour passes, and maybe even 45 minutes. At some point, you would either flag down the server or call for a manager. You may even decide to simply leave. Even if the restaurant had a superior chef and exceptional food, you certainly wouldn’t recommend it to others because of the initial service experience.
Imagine calling a roofer for a quote on a new roof, and it takes weeks to get a response. Imagine if you had a car problem and you couldn’t get a timely estimate while your car sat idle. Odds are you wouldn’t do business with either. Even if these vendors had good reputations in the past, your experience would be soured because of their lack of responsiveness.
The point in responsiveness is key in customer service. This is true in B2B as it is in B2C transactions. The problem is in the above examples, it could be argued that you weren’t quite a customer yet. You never ate the food, never got the roof and never used the mechanic’s repair services. Further, you likely never will be a customer. In these instances, poor responsiveness led to lost customers even before they could even become a customer.
This is frequently seen in manufacturing in the quoting process.
At Wiley Metal, we know our customers and potential customers have expectations when getting a quote from us. They expect us to have sufficient data to put together a reasonably accurate quote. They expect us to be able to deliver the quote in a reasonable amount of time and they expect us to be able to sufficiently explain the quote. Time-to-quote has become an increasingly important aspect in manufacturing overall and metal fabrication manufacturing in particular.
Quotes can involve multiple people requiring detailed pieces of information. Accurate quotes may take several interactions with the sales representative, potential client, engineers and accountants. Production schedules may need to be checked and verified. Inventory and access and availability of suppliers need to be checked. At Wiley Metal, we want to make sure we can do what we say we will do to meet and exceed expectations.
The Wiley Metal 5-Day Quote Turnaround
The Wiley Metal team has instituted a five-day goal for any or all quotes. That means when you request a quote from us, we will have a proposal for your review within five business days. This sets up expectations for both our clients and prospective clients. It keeps our feet to fire as well.
The benefits to a five-day quote turnaround are mutual:
- Potential clients now get a maximum time they can expect to receive an accurate quote.
- Time-to-quote efficiency helps our sales representatives become more effective.
- It minimizes lost sales opportunities.
- It creates a sense of urgency for both vendor and client.
- It helps us demonstrate our efficiency to prospective clients.
- Time-to-quote efficiency is another competitive edge.
An opportunity to quote a project is very frequently the first interaction we will have with a prospective client. It is a chance to create that all-important first impression.
Proactive Proposal Process
With the Wiley Metal 5-Day Quote Turn around, we are being proactive in preventing losing bids because our proposal was “too late”. Our prospective clients know upfront they will have a proposal within five business days. This is most often timely enough to allow them to delay a final decision on selecting a quote until they review ours. This helps eliminate the wasted time and effort of preparing an extensive proposal only to never have it see the light of day.
Now, does this mean it will never take longer than five business days to get a proposal to a client? Probably not. There will be comprehensive, detailed quotes or proposals that may take more extensive back-and-forths. This may take more time. We do promise, however, to keep our clients informed through the process. This would be like that waiter telling you “The chef wants to make sure your meal is as perfect as possible, so he’s requested a few more minutes to get it done right.” Keeping the potential customer connected can be as critical as the actual time-to-quote.
Time-to-quote can also be improved by keeping data on all previous quotes for a client and notes on why they were or were not successful. This can help the sale representative be more efficient in preparing a quote while giving him advanced “intelligence” on what aspects may be most important in a proposal for a customer.
If your organization is not focusing on time-to-quote, you may be missing out on opportunities to improve customer responsiveness. It also can improve internal efficiencies. You can have happier customers, projects completed faster and ultimately improve the bottom line. You also won’t be demonstrating poor customer service to potential clients even before they become customers.
Do you have a metal fabrication project you would like quoted? Perhaps you have an idea you would like to see become a reality? Contact us. Let’s see what we can accomplish together.