Knowledge: At the Heart of Great Customer Service

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David Thomas, master IPC trainer at EPTAC, says that the more you understand the work and technology that go into your processes and products, the better you can serve your customers. That includes knowing the basics.

Barry Matties: There are a lot of approaches to customer service, but I’m a firm believer that content knowledge is the foundation of great customer service. Service is a process, but understanding technology certainly is a benefit. What are your thoughts on that?

David Thomas: There are cases that I’ve personally experienced in which someone knows how to speak the language, but they don’t know how to apply it, and vice versa. They may come in and talk about something. They think they’re speaking as an educated person but are saying something completely wrong. For example, they need to know the basics, from the difference between a resistor and a diode, to how a resistor pack, timer, and an EPROM operate. If you go to a conference or talk with a customer, you need to have basic knowledge so that you’re on the same page as them. They should be able to see that you’re not the person putting the solder to the application.

Matties: What advice would you give someone who’s looking to retool their customer service department or their approach to customer service? 

Thomas: First, gain knowledge on the things you’re working with. You can often gain a good understanding by taking, for example, a basic soldering class. Even if you don’t use that knowledge, at least you have it. You were there, you did it, and you saw what it takes to do it. You have a better understanding. I find that many engineers who are at the design level want something done to a certain degree, but they have no idea what they’re asking for. It makes no sense at all because they aren’t there, trying to put it together. Customer service improves when people speak the same language and have a good understanding, whether it’s the engineer and whoever is doing the work, or a customer and a company. 

Matties: David, thank you so much.

Thomas: Thank you.

This article originally appeared in the May 2023 issue of PCB007 Magazine.


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