Funny thing about words and communication is that they mean different things to different people at different times. You see, in my brain, I am a good communicator. I feel like I can effectively explain what I am thinking and looking for. Now, if you ask some of the Alliance team members they might laugh at that statement…what we say and what someone hears can be a major issue, not just in simple office communication, but even more so in the job process.
Recently we had a customer come to us with a polishing project to quote. Our team looked at the project, assessed the prints, read the written specs, and discussed the project requirements. We knew the requested finish was an A2 diamond, we knew what was molding and what was shut off, we knew the tolerance numbers, and we knew that there were 64 of them. We had a plan and a number to submit based on all of the data that we had.
When we submitted the quote, we found out that we were quite a bit higher than what they were expecting. Our team came back together to see what we were missing. I mean, we will never be the cheapest guys and we don’t want to be, (that’s a whole different post coming soon), but how were we significantly higher? Something was not adding up and we needed to dig a bit further into the project.
We jumped on the phone and called the customer to ask a couple clarifying questions and this is where the magic happened. The first question was, “What kind of finish will the parts have when they get here?” You probably know this, but whether it is an EDM or machine finish, this has a huge impact on the amount of time needed to achieve the customers desired result. Multiply that over 64 cavities and even an additional five minutes per part adds up quickly. The next questions was, “When you say A2 finish what does that look like to you?” (Note to the reader: I know what you are thinking, an A2, is an A2, is an A2). According the the SPI standard an A2 finish is near perfection, zero cutter marks, zero EDM, zero blemishes of any kind. The response: “You can leave some EDM in the corners, it doesn’t have to be totally removed, just make sure you shine it up.”
Armed with this new information we were able to resubmit a quote, and wouldn’t you know it, we were actually slightly below their expectations. Just by asking a couple of clarifying questions,we went from being too expensive to being a hero. I personally prefer to be the hero whenever possible.
Its truly amazing the difference between what we say and what others hear.