Do you want to know how your business performed in the 2014-2015 financial year?
We’ve put together 5 easy steps to help you find out.
- We all want to believe all our Clients are happy, but it’s good to take stock and find out their thoughts first hand. Create a feedback survey with questions about your product and services. If a survey is a new idea for your company, think about having one sent out periodically to get a better understanding of your clients satisfaction.
- If you already have a method of receiving feedback from your clients, make sure you allocate someone from your team to act on the feedback and followup with the client if required. Following up communicates value to your client, it tells them their opinion matters and the time they invested was not wasted.
- Are the business processes and work procedures for your operations up-to-date? If these haven’t yet been implemented, consider getting this important task done. Without knowing the mechanisms of your operations, it will be difficult to enforce conformance to the necessary internal standards.
- If you already have this part down pat, the performance and feedback evaluation process of your operations is most likely already active. Take time out to check that your operational staff are measuring up to required performance benchmarks. It would also be beneficial to let them see how their contribution to the individual processes result to the big picture!
- Do you have a standard response time or is it a case-by-case basis? If not, consider getting one that is simple for customers to understand and promote your response time in your marketing materials.
- If you do have a response time statement, how do you measure it? Do you know which aspect of your delivery matters the most to your customers? If you do, great job! Make sure you communicate how well your speed to delivery is to the rest of your audience.
- You’ve got the processes in place that make your operations, but have you found the blind spots? These are the areas which your floor staff are aware of, but you are not. Blind spots can be lethal so always review your operational processes for continuous improvement opportunities.
- BUT, resist the temptation to overdo the changes. Keep in mind how your changes will affect the overall quality, dependability and cost of your products and services. Also bear in mind the impact this has on your operational staff…change is good but constant change can be devastating!
- There are many facets of your offering that matters to a customer; some of them which would be receiving it on time and that it does what its advertised to do. The former we have touched on in the earlier segments, but how does the latter fit within your business? Analytics around this subjective topic would assist every business manager to move its product and services forward.
- In the real world, anything can happen, so make sure that you have contingency plans for your customers. Some strategies have included warranties, returns and guarantees policies. Make these visible for your customers so they are aware of options which help foster trust in your brand.
- Understand and translate how a customer views using your offering as reliable. How long should they be able to use it without it breaking down? With this information readily available, design the test for your offering and stretch it to its limits to understand the breaking points.
- Next, consider the maintainability and maintenance support of your offering. Look at the processes from all angles to understand the experience that your customers get. Perhaps look at your supplier chain to re-establish and uplift standards.
- This may be applicable to different businesses in many ways, such as volumes, ways of delivery, attributes etc. Do you know what the limits are of your offering? Do your customers know? Make sure that they are aware to remove any doubts or assumptions during the decision making process.
- Criteria that can be used to signify flexibility include having a products and services mix that meet different needs, catering to changes and innovation in design and delivery, and allowing for a range of volumes for purchase.
- To be able to deliver the flexibility you sell to your customers, your in-house processes and procedures must be able to withstand such changes. Review these again to reflect how you can meet your range of offerings and find the areas where efficiencies can be gained.
- Ensure that this flexibility in your processes do not affect the first three criteria of quality, speed and dependability of your offerings. If it does, consider a different way of adjusting your processes and procedures such as outsourcing from a supplier.
- What is the equilibrium price for your offering? Now may be time to look at your pricing strategy to identify how and what options your customers have in the market. The more options they have, the more price sensitive they will be! A small increase in pricing could mean higher revenue and/or higher margins, so a detailed analysis on your market should be on your agenda.
- Look at the how your branding strategy flows on from a competitor analysis. Promote the value and benefits of your offering to a focused target market to keep them less price-conscious. Also look at the product life cycle to determine if the current market is still biting. Perhaps it’s time for a new market or further innovations in your offering?
- What are the benchmark statistics that you need to operate and how does that compare to the rest of the players in the industry? If you don’t have any competitors, look harder. Competition encourages changes and improvements helping your business stand out from the others.
- Design strategies to overcome the problems at its roots; idle stock could mean a bigger push in sales is required, high costs in production could mean ineffective processes or unscalable services. Huddle up with your team to brainstorm potential issues to address.
Does this help you? Have you got a review process you’d like to share too? Let us know what you think by commenting below.