Are You Easy to do Business With?

Your most unhappy customers are your greatest source of learning. Bill Gates When is the last time you asked your customers “do you find it easy to do business with us?”  Have you ever “spent a day in the life of your customer?”  What really drives their buying behaviours and what is the total cost to them of buying from you?  What surprises would you find and how would you turn these into opportunities? Really Talking to Our Customers Can Surprise Us Total Cost of Doing Business With You: Do your customers really care about your latest discount initiative when what they really want is on–time delivery because the current, late deliveries are costing them more than the value of your discount? Returns are the Voice of the Customer:  Is the level of returns too high? Is this because of poor quality? Or poor design that does not meet their needs? Turn Complaints Into Compliments: Do your organisation systematically capture the customers’ complaints, analyse the root causes, resolve them and measure the outcomes? Add Value or Perish: What problem are you solving for your customers? What is the relative value of your solution compared to that of others within the value chain? Returning Customers: Do you measure your customer churn and take actions to reduce it?  Are your staff remunerated to keep current customers? Customers’ Touchpoints With Your Organisation? Is a single person accountable for resolving a customer issue? Or do your customers get bounced between the silos? Since it costs five times more to obtain a new customer than to keep one, it makes sense to invest in...

McDonaldize Your Business

If you can’t describe what you are doing as a process, you don’t know what you’re doing. W. Edwards Deming McDonalds is less known for its food than for the consistency of its delivery.  It is the same anywhere in the world.  The Big Mac Index is now a valid measure used by economists globally.  McDonalds executives can sleep at night because they have a system that manages itself, the same way every day. Any business can be McDonaldised: bottler, aircraft maintenance, law firm, call centres, warehousing, medical, government, recruitment, insurance claims, crane sales and ice cream trucks. Good processes reduce the reliance on people.  If your people are having a bad day, goods still need to get delivered on time.  If they are sick, costs must continue to be managed. If they are tired, quality must remain high. Processes shift intellectual property from people to business rules.  Which one is more consistent?  The business is impacted less by the loss of key staff.  Induction of new staff is faster. Know the key principles of process redesign.  Effective process design involves the ongoing balancing of design constraints against the needs of the...