Back To Basics
The season is upon us – I personally hate saying that our industry is in its busy season, but we all know that we participate in a market space that is very cyclical and I think we would all agree that we are always busy, but sometimes less than others. Regardless, as I listen to customers and participate in various meetings a lesson I learned from Bob Schaeffer (he was my first boss when I got into the exhibit industry) jumped out and slapped me across the head a few weeks back. Bob looked at turn around time / production time for exhibits with a unique perspective. When I wrote up a job ticket, I had to have three pieces of information regarding due date and they were “Would like date”, “Must have date”, and “Show date”. If you did not list all three, it was not a job. The beauty in asking the three dates was you opened a dialogue and always determined a reasonable time line between yourself and the customer to fill their order.
I believe his lesson is more valuable than ever – we are all used to creating expectations that we can do things better and faster and I believe many within the industry are fixated with waiting and doing jobs even faster… Good, bad, or indifferent, a great question to ask our customers is, “when would you like X” and “when MUST you have X”. Sure the dates are the same in some cases, but in a little experiment I conducted over the past week or so, the would like date and must have date were only the same 5% of the time.
I guarantee we are all committed to the same goals, satisfying our customers and creating profit for our organizations. I think we can all help each other by tweaking the turnaround dialogue and in some cases, actually having a dialogue.
PS – last tidbit for the day – this coming Saturday (9.22.12), I will be riding in the Mt. Hood Gran Fondo bike race in an effort to raise money for Mike Swartout, who has Advanced Stage 4 Prostate cancer. To learn more and help with a contribution, please follow this link. Thanks for your generosity and positive thoughts for Mike.
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