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Steve Driver's Blog

Spirit Underpants…

11 Feb 2014

I’ve been in the PCB industry long enough to know what matters most to our customers, old and new. It’s obvious that we should deliver the best technology, on time and to the highest standards, and these are commitments we honour day in day out. But our most valuable asset is our commitment to great customer service, or what we call at Spirit ‘service beyond expectation.’

What customer service really boils down to is Spirit’s people…and the people’s Spirit. Anyone who knows me will tell you that passion drives my business. I believe it’s the secret behind every successful business – from Virgin to Apple – these big guys had a vision, but it was the passion behind the vision that makes it succeed.

And that’s the sort of people I welcome to my ever-expanding team. I have a metaphor that I think epitomises my expectations of my team. It is based upon my expectation for them to ”come to work wearing Spirit underpants.” Let me explain myself - before you go off telling peers of Spirit’s peculiar uniform requirements. Now, what I mean by this is that I want my team to share my enthusiasm, excitement and passion for Spirit Circuits. I want them to see their time with us, not as a ‘job’, but as an exhilarating opportunity to be part of our pioneering adventure. It’s about getting up everyday and feeling energised for the business day ahead and it’s about being a proud member of the Spirit team.

So, what exactly does service beyond expectation whittle down to? And, how do we continue to offer it?

Knowledge
Every member of Spirit is admired for their in-depth knowledge - not only their technical know-how and manufacturing expertise, but their knowledge of the industries we operate and applications our PCBs power. This means that our experts are fit to answer our customers’ questions and support them through every stage of the process.

Added extra
Every customer appreciates an added extra – but in business, providing that extra is far from the end of the story. When your child gets a happy meal and their free toy is not in there, you’d be likely to complain and demand why. What this exemplifies is an ‘extra’ becoming a ‘standard’ – no longer do customers appreciate extras but simply expect them as the norm. That’s why at Spirit we’re mindful of ‘extras’ going stale –by keeping our ‘added value’ fresh our customers are not disappointed.

Digital support
Since 2011 Spirit has utilised a document management system, powered by M-files, that facilitates valuable customer insights. Recently, after integrating a new predictive analytics system, we have been able to predict possible customer dissatisfaction, and jump-in before a problem arises. The software feeds valuable information about customer satisfaction to our dedicated sales team who can then get in contact with said customer to see what we can do to surpass their expectations.

Staying in touch
Connecting to the previous point, we know it’s of paramount importance not to neglect our clients. This can be as simple as keeping our customers up-to-speed with latest offerings, new technologies and capabilities to simply sharing our latest updates, news and insights with them. It can also mean investing in new software. Spirit is now using data scientists to analyse our customers weekly to ensure all of our customers receive the same high level of attention. The system, ‘predictive analytics’ uses bespoke algorithms to interrogate part number history, ordering patterns, enquiry patterns, allowing us to understand customers’ behaviour. This will stop customers falling through the net and will ensure we continue to give each customer the dedicated attention they deserve.

Treating customers equally
I learnt this lesson early on - every customer is equal; despite the size of the orders they place. However well you are doing and however much you think you don’t need small orders – you are wrong. Every customer deserves the best of your team and it’s bad practice to only pander the ‘big players’ who generate the biggest income.

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