Customer Service?

Jan 14

Customer service is one of the things within a company that everyone says to do well. You see television advertisements  about how your local car dealership has an internet lounge while you impatiently wait for your car to be serviced or the plumber who boasts “30 minute response time”- with the exception of mealtimes, nap time and overnight. Recently the phone company was challenged by the cable company to deliver phone service to homes in our area. In my own house, the phone went out about a month ago. We called the phone company, to fix it and were put on hold for an hour. We finally got someone who then told us it will be three days until they can fix it and the only time they can be at our house is between 9 and 2. We said, “Are you kidding me?” We basically gave up. We switched to the cable company and saved $70.00 a month and are happy.

Last evening my daughter and I went to the local mall to get her snow boots because last year’s boots instantly were too small for her 8 year old feet. We went to the mall on a quiet evening so that we could go into a store and be the only shoppers. However, we found that we had to constantly battle for attention with the clerk’s phone as he or she texted away. Eventually, we just walked out without buying the boots. My daughter was as equally annoyed as me because she liked the boots. I was annoyed because I just really do not like to shop.

We ended up at a Sports Authority sports store where we got our boots and went to pay. At the register we noticed that on the bottom of our receipt, if we filled out a survey and gave the store a “Very good” for customer service, we would receive a $10.00 coupon. Enough Said.

I got an e-mail from one of our top 5 customers last night and it was stated in plain language:

“You are correct – the last few weeks we have received in many ******* along with the remaining ******.  I appreciate everyone at Royal Master working so diligently to get these out to us.  Also, Alan has been doing an excellent job in going above and beyond in checking out the delivery schedules and expediting items in for us when we are in a desperate need for something.   We do appreciate it!Thanks again & have a great weekend!”

Where does a consumer go to when they are dissatisfied? There is no undercover boss going to magically appear and fix everything. Does the consumer accept it as the way the company does business or would they like to know what is wrong so they can fix it? Where do you go? The phone company does not advertise a “If you are dissatisfied with us talk to the CEO” phone number. The store with the texting clerk is earning a paycheck, but the owner of the store does not know that I will never come back because of my experience. But I bet the owner would like to know that he lost a customer over a very fixable issue.

The point of this blog is not to get annoyed about the situation again, but to just say if you have a good experience at a store or a company they always like to hear about it. If it’s a bad experience the company wants to hear about it even more. Where do you go where someone will listen and care? That’s the key question.

John Jr

Vice President

Royal Master Grinders.

Instant Information

Aug 03

On Sunday I arrived at the beginning of my journey to Asia: Newark Airport. With a sigh I got off the monorail at Terminal A, rather than my usual stop at Terminal C. This was only because the usual direct flight that I take was all booked and so our illustrious Lori got me on a partner airline, United. The only issue was instead of a direct flight, I had to connect through ORD (O Hare). This added another 3 hours to the travel time, but with 13 hours vs 16 hours, at that point you’re numb and hungry anyway. While sitting in the lounge (a perk of the Continental / United merger) an announcement began saying my EWR to ORD flight was cancelled. Looking at the time, I started to formulate a Plan B.

I walk up to the counter at the lounge, and politely say I really need to get to Asia but my flight is cancelled, and the next EWR to ORD will not get me to Chicago in time for my connection, what now?

A few clicks and a few squints at her screen, and she produces a boarding pass that is famous in Royal Master Circles – “The Express”. This was my original preference before I was booked on United, but the cost was insane.  As soon as I figure out what happened and realize that I was treated to a direct flight, my phone beeps and buzzes stating that my new gate of departure is 121 in Terminal C. Continental instantly sent me an update to my status of my gate and departure time.

Frequent flyers have all experienced this instant information but in the information age what made this cool is with a simple Mobile phone number or e-mail address, all of this is instant. Back when instant coffee was an innovation, it was coffee made fast, but now it takes too long for water to boil on a stove. So we look for faster ways to get hot water. 

Instant information is key to running high volume production.  Every minute of lost production means lost profits.  Royal Master has now incorporated in their machines the ability for the machine to e-mail up to 10 addresses or send out text messages to mobile phones numbers when a machine issue occurs or even just update production figures. Using your iPhone or Blackberry you can log into the machine for instant updates or even change part numbers. All of this information is available and to take advantage of it is easy.

I decided to blog about this because one customer I just left was so thrilled with this concept that as part of his machine purchase, he asked us to include an iPhone as part of the deal, all loaded and set-up for this feature. He stated that his boss would never believe him, so he figured he would show it to him when the machine arrived.

If your machine could talk, what would it want to tell you? Let us know your thoughts.

33,000 Pounds in a 21 Day Window

Jul 13

 Vacation is upon us and after this week Royal Master shuts down manufacturing for two weeks. You can still call and get parts and if I never told you that we were shut down you probably would never have known. Lori stills answers the phone and we all answer our  e-mails as if it was business as usual. On Friday our shipping manager Glen pointed out that we only had 21 working days before we ship IMTS when we get back from vacation. Maybe he was hinting to leave him a long list of things to do while he worked over shut down, or looking for me to say “ that’s plenty of time “.

With 21 days left there is a whole lot to do, but we are in pretty good shape. Skids are built according to the jigsaw puzzle that we call a truck layout, machines are all on line and most are finished. We are just waiting on some feeding components from vendors.

The truck layout is one of the most fun things associated with the planning of the show. It has been called fitting 10 pounds of  “candy” in a 5 pound bag . Trucking is expensive and a source of stress. Having everything out of our control after pain staking working on the machines for 3 months is a minor part of the stress, but then when you think about it, a stranger taking over 2 million dollars of equipment hurdling down Route 80 at 70 mph can give anyone a chance to pause for more than a second.

Setting up the layout for the truck is like a jigsaw puzzle, everything fits, and has a place. Put it in the wrong place and you have a bad case of the head scratches while you figure it out.  Fitting 7 machines, a tradeshow display, support materials for a weeks in a 8’ x 48’ space is  just plain old fun. We actually build the skids to fit the truck dimensions to minimize any empty voids. The record for empty space was in 2006 with a whopping 6” of empty room at the back of the truck. I will admit that we tape out the truck in the parking lot the day before to make sure all 33,000 pounds fit in all 384 square feet of truck deck.

Very Small Parts

Jul 02

Our overseas agent recently sent us an inquiry to grind parts for an experimental grind. His only details that he gave is that they are very small and they might be hard to handle. In working with guidewires which go as small as .001” in diameter, I thought, “ no challenge here”.

Wow was I wrong. Not only are these parts small in diameter, but short in length. The 1000 parts that they sent in are shown here. The handling of the part, not the grinding will be the challenge. This is a patience job, and a job that even our competitors will say, “just call Royal Master”

In replying back to our overseas agent, he gave me an “oh by the way” with the customer wants to autofeed them. In the back of my mind I assumed that this would have to be the case as I cannot see anyone on a production basis handling these parts, but I also kind of hoped that they had a plan already in place for inserting and removing from the wheels.

I will keep you posted as to the progress as we grind them in our Experimental lab. If you have a part that is more of a challenge, give it to us and you can win a $100 Best Buy Gift certificate. Closing date for Entries is August 15th.

I look forward to your tough job, what would challenge us?

What time is our appointment? Right Here, Right Now!

Jun 25

Everybody is busy.  Nobody has enough time to do what has to get done.  I can’t wait that long.  These are just the realities of business as usual today. 

The world we live in has changed.  The business environment has become so fast paced as a result of having to do more with fewer people.  Even going to a trade show is now a time critical event.  People used to walk the aisles of a show to see what is new.  Today, more people are pre-planning their visit and accomplishing more purposeful results.

Imagine if you, as busy as you are, as important as your project is, would walk into a meeting and everyone you needed to see was there waiting for you.  How convenient would it be to have a knowledgeable Applications Engineer, Mechanical Design Engineer, Software Design and Programming Engineer all waiting for you and your project?  More than this, there is an actual grinder on the floor under power making parts similar to what you have in mind.  When this team has listened to you and now completely understands what you want, they bring you to a design computer station and demonstrate a 3-D Model of the grinder including automation to solve your problem!

Royal Master Grinders is welcoming you to pre-plan your visit to our Booth #6646 at IMTS 2010.  You probably have just a few days at the show at most.  If you had to wait at each booth of interest to you to speak with someone other than a hired show host, you wouldn’t accomplish enough to make the trip worthwhile.  At the Royal Master Booth, we will “talk the talk” and “walk the walk”.

Schedule 15 minutes, 30 minutes or even 2 hours with us.  Whatever time it takes to get your point across and get the answers you need.  We are going to listen and understand what it is you want or need.

This is your chance to avoid the “Oh, he just went to lunch” or “He’s involved with other customers right now”.  Schedule your appointment and be part of the “Right Here, Right Now” attitude of tradeshows!

Contact us by telephone (201-337-8500) or e-mail (check our website for addresses and let us know when you will be available.  We will be glad to block off a time for you.

Bob Hoffman

Interning at Royal Master Grinders

Jun 21

When I started at Royal Master in January, I was extremely nervous. I had never had a job before, and I was intimidated by horror stories that my friends had told about their own jobs. Since we are still in high school, most of my friends work at places like the grocery store or the bagel shop. Working at an office was a total mystery to me.

My first week passed quickly. I met so many new people and tried my best to remember the names and faces. I started filing and making new folders. I had so many questions but everyone was so nice and answered them all. I started learning what I needed to do, and every day that I was there I became less nervous.

Now, three days a week at three, I walk into the office, say hello to Lori, Lee and Marilyn, before heading over to Alan’s desk. Alan will tell me what I should do that day. Sometimes, I will file downstairs, other times upstairs, where I file old purchase orders. I’ve also learned how to answer the phones. Occasionally, John Jr. will have a project for me, one that will, as he says “keep me out of trouble for a while”. Those projects range from figuring out how to put pictures on the blog to setting up email distribution lists.

Some of the things I have done at Royal Master have even helped me out at school. For my computer class, we had a project in which we need to design envelopes and labels. I was ahead of the class since Lori had already taught me how to make labels for the folders.

The people are what make my job here so interesting and fun. My friends have told me how some of the people they work with are cranky or mean. That is not the case at Royal Master. The people here are so nice. For example, Lori wrote up a whole page of directions about answering the phone, like who is in what department so that I can direct the call to the proper person.

Working at Royal Master is not at all what I expected. . Though I was nervous at first, I am now so glad that I work here.

Brianne Hostutler