Customers’ best bet – 3in1

Thermopac's Customer Care Team from left: Charne Yokim, Jenny Khan and Cheryl Hendricks.

Thermopac's Customer Care Team from left: Charne Yokim, Jenny Khan and Cheryl Hendricks.

During the days of Mums sewing and using sewing machines to make clothing for their children and linen for the home, many had their own personalised sewing machine. It was very important to preserve these machines as they were often imported and although spares were locally available, the cost of replacement was very high.

There was one particular product that Mum’s would keep right next to their sewing machine. It was known as “3in1” oil. It can still be bought at selected stores today. It offered a simple lubrication quality, which aided in preserving the sewing machine. Essentially, the three benefits it offered were to stop rust, lubricate and protect. It was an incredible product.

Astrapak’s Forming Division has been able to replicate this phenomenon in a service related environment. The similarity is simple; management drove the concept of uniting three similar services at different sites into one power-based service hub. The rest, as they say, is history.

The tactic paid massive dividends in terms of providing ultimate customer satisfaction. Moving from three separate customer liaison specialists – each of them based at separate factories in South Africa – the concept of establishing a centralised customer focal point and service hub was originally viewed by most as too ambitious. It was thought that the co-ordination and end communication would not benefit the customer.

For Thermopac General Manager Craig Matthews however, the edge of stretching too far has never been something he has strayed from. In fact, he is no stranger to achieving more than expected. With his foresight and nurturing, the concept was introduced and there is no need at all to hide the result. From a satisfaction score of around 45% at the end of 2015 to a consistent score of 95% and above every month, the change that was made and the rewards that they have offered customers and the Astrapak Group have been mutually beneficial.

The plan involved co-ordinating the internal sales functions from each site – one of each in Cape Town, Durban and Johannesburg – into the same single venue based in Cape Town, improving the frequency and quality of communicating both within the team but most importantly with our valued customers. Customers were receiving accurate and reliable information.

Matthews says: “We are ever mindful and committed to improving our customer’s experience with Astrapak. We can never sit back and simply think we have achieved the most ideal arrangement. Before long we will become complacent and lose our advantage.”

The art of never being fully satisfied with what we create is what will inevitably continue to drive excellence. Excellence is in itself the art of pursuing and accepting nothing but perfection. The closer we get to the unrealistic, the wider we make the gap between Astrapak and our competitors.

Mylene Paynter