- Customer Service – When you work in a custom fabrication shop you have to understand exactly what the customer needs. It’s not as simple as, “We sell this box, at this size, for this price.” You are creating something new and there are always different variables that come into play. That’s why it is critical for both parties to understand each other at every level of the development process.
You’ll want to establish a relationship with each customer and find out which method of communication works best for them. Some customers love to hop on the phone, while others only want to communicate through email. Not every project will require the same amount of communication or the same style. As always, with custom work, you will need to adapt and consider how to approach each customer.
The custom industry somewhat forces you to keep in contact as different variables could potentially table more discussions. This constant contact should increase your customer relationship, which inevitably improves your level of customer service. As an employee, you will learn how to provide the best customer service to each client and the custom industry as a whole.
- Negotiating – Another aspect of communication that you’ll learn is the art of negotiation. Sometimes customers that come into a custom fabrication shop expecting a custom piece for the price of a mass-produced product. They may not understand the timely process of designing a product and bringing it to life. Your job is to educate them on the custom industry and illustrate the process of product development. When you are negotiating the costs you’ll have to also factor in variables such as overhead, expertise, time, equipment, etc. A good practice to get into the habit of is to not give any sort of estimate right off the cuff. It’s better to get back with a customer rather than giving them a sticker shock after you figure out the actual cost.
- Internally – You’ll learn very quickly that communicating with the customer is not the only opportunity you’ll have to improve your communication skills. Now that you understand what the customer needs, you need to communicate it to the rest of your team. This channel of communication is so important not only for the project at hand but the overall structure of the company. The company won’t be able to thrive if the internal team can’t…
- Mediate Disagreements – Since you won’t be doing the same work every day you’ll have to collaborate more than you might in a typical working environment. There will be more decisions to make and you’ll have to learn to meditate when there are disagreements.
- Collaborate – I’m sure you’ve heard the saying, “Two is better than one.” This little saying holds true to your internal team at your custom shop. Workers must have synergy when it comes to collaborating over processes, projects and day-to-day tasks.
- Listen to Each Other – You’ll learn it’s easier to communicate when you listen first. It’s easy to get caught up on your train of thought, but try to keep your ears open along with an open-mind. You’ll be surprised by the things you learn.
Regardless of the work you do, communication is key. However, in the custom world, it can be harder to convey ideas not only because you are creating new projects, but you’ll be working with more than one industry. You’ll find yourself working on your communication on a daily basis. Over time, it will get easier and you’ll find yourself advancing in the art of communication.