Our ability to communicate has vastly changed through the decades; as have our manufacturing capabilities. This has provided a vast assortment of customer communication options and has created a society that demands an immediate response to inquiries.
The proverb “The Devil is in the details” hints that there is a hidden mystery or that something is not as simple as it first looks. While it may seem easy in today’s fast-paced world to simply supply an answer to a question or pricing on a project, it is the fine details that can make a huge difference.
In the rush to “land the sale” the finer points are often unmentioned with the user. These fine details are the drivers for the cost of the final product, the customer’s satisfaction, and the company’s bottom line.
When buying a new car, will the base model work for the customer’s needs or do they want a backup camera, heated seats, upgraded sound system, lane or park assist? Each of these special features will add to the cost of the base price. They will provide a specific service. But what if the customer doesn’t want heated seats? Should they have to pay for them anyway? Or if not included, how would they know if they are available?
The same holds true for any project that is being quoted. Will the customer really need the standard product that can quickly be priced or do they need additional services or attributes that have been left unsaid?
This is not for the sake of upselling or getting a higher commission but for the customer’s required need and the health of the company’s reputation. Some projects probably could have been saved simply by asking a few questions and learning those important fine details that were missed in the need for instant responses.
The ability to obtain the finer points of a project is quite easy if you consider the industry and listen to the needs of the customer. Creating a quote sheet with the smallest detail would assist in efficiently quoting the project. Does the customer require special testing, certifications, freight incentives, or rebates? Does the customer have a unique application that demands more than the “base model” for optimum performance? In some cases, asking these questions will even prompt the customer to consider details that they may have missed themselves.
When it comes to the details of a project, it is better to take the time and gather as much information as possible than to provide the customer with a product that does not perform well, pricing that will put your company out of the running or worse, a product that creates a loss for the company.
Remember: The profit or loss (both monetary and reputation wise) is in the details.