I’ve been selling custom plastic enclosure design solutions for 19 years at Envision Plastics and Design. Over this time I’ve worked with thousands of individuals who inquired about our No Molds Required capabilities, considered our service offering, became customers, or even chose to go another route. Through all of this, I have not only learned about what our clients are looking for, but how I can navigate those needs within our company’s interests and capabilities to provide viable solutions, while at the same time, build relationships with our clients regardless of the outcome of the sale. This does not stop at “me” though. Our entire team at Envision Plastics follow the same sentiment when it comes to customer service in sales, engineering, quality, and manufacturing. The following are things we as a team have learned along the way.
Most of our customers seek us out on the internet. Typing in phrases like “custom plastic enclosures” on Google or their favorite search engine. By opening ourselves up to these types of situations, we also get inquiries from folks typing in “Replacement Plastic Cover for 2004 Saturn Vue”. Sure, maybe we have to adjust our keyword marketing slightly, but the point is, inquiries of all sorts come in from many different walks of life. Trust me. Anyway, when we know something does not fit us, or will have a feature that does not quite fit our machines or capabilities just right, we have to be honest and say, “This isn’t for us. I’m sorry we cannot help”.
* Lesson- It’s better to be honest up front and say ‘no’ than work toward a custom design that is not going to produce a consistent quality part.
We’ve all heard the saying, “You can please some of the people all of the time, you can please all of the people some of the time, but you can’t please all of the people all of the time”. Well, no matter how awesome we are at fabricating plastic enclosures, we aren’t perfect in everyone’s eyes. Here are some classics:
Customer: “My order is late! Why can’t you (expletive) meet our date! This is really going to be a problem!” Envision Rep: “I apologize that your shipment is not meeting the date in your system, but your engineering department reached out to us with a last minute change. This caused a delay in us getting parts to the manufacturing floor. I’m sorry you were not informed about that.” Customer: “Oh. Well, please ship when you can.”
Customer: “Hi. I need to make a domed cover for a device that gets mounted on a vehicle. This is going to be huge! I can’t wait to make these and get them in the hands of my
customers. I’m so excited to have found someone to make these with no molds or tooling!”
Envision Rep: “I apologize. With our equipment, we cannot make parts with a domed profile.” Customer: “What do you mean you can’t make a dome? Can’t you just form a sheet of plastic?” Envision Rep: “No we do not do any thermoforming work like that here. We mainly use CNC line bending techniques which hold standard fabrication tolerances. These types of radii are impossible for us to hold. I think you’d need to work with a thermoformer or injection molder for this.” Customer: “What kind of plastic fabricator can’t form a dome out of a sheet of plastic? Stupid. So you’re saying I need a tool after all then?!” Envision Rep: “Well, us, I guess. I’m sorry we could not help.”
* Lesson – People don’t know, what they don’t know.
We certainly live in a world where it seems everything is at our fingertips. We are accustomed to a response to our needs immediately. While we do a great job at Envision of responding to our customers (or potential customers), we need to realize how imperative it is not to let a project inquiry sit too long – especially with leads from our friends who discover us through search engines. Being that we are doing business electronically and from a far, it can leave the client wondering:
“Did they get my request?”
“Can they solve my problem?”
"How soon will I know?”
Over time, our team has received many commendations on our quick response time to our customer’s needs. We certainly take pride in that!
* Lesson – An anxious customer is an uncomfortable customer. Uncomfortable customers won’t be customers for long.
I'm sure that with future interactions with customers, we will continue to learn more about thier needs, ourselves, and our limitations. All of these expereinces will continue to make us better people and better solution providers in the long run.