You have spent the better part of the last year reading my blogs and have implemented every business improvement suggestion that I have ever made.
You are now at the top of your game; better than all your competitors and absolutely killing the pig. But is this the best you can be?
Your success has been firmly planted on beating your competitors. Your product sales are higher, giving you better commercial penetration. Your products are better quality and your customer satisfaction levels are rated the industry highest.
But is comparing yourself to the industry the only benchmark that you should strive for?
There are many components that make up a product life and sales cycle. Each distinct step includes processes and procedures, and these processes and procedures can be replicated into other businesses. This means that the processes and procedures of other businesses could be implemented into your own, even if there is a gap greater than the Grand Canyon of difference between what you do.
The objective here is to look at what you are doing and how you are doing this and compare it to other processes that may not necessarily be within your own business radar. For example, the fresh flower distribution network’s success if totally measured on the effectiveness of moving product from one place to another whilst ensuring that product damage is absolutely minimised. Add the fact that the product is fragile and has a short shelf life and you can immediately see the sorts of obstacles that need to be overcome to ensure a successful transport event. What makes this logistics process such a success, and how does your current logistics compare?
Is your current RA process as streamlined as it could be? How does it compare to organisations whose are renowned for their customer handling process? Sometimes, the fact that a product has failed, either through design or manufacturing, is less important to how is the failure managed by your business. Sure there are legal product and warranty minimums that you need to satisfy, but what would happen if you exceeded these mandatory obligations?
My pool cleaner stopped working. It actually stopped working because I wanted to see how the gear logic worked. This was a mistake at my end and the inevitable happened. After some considered and choice cursing, the cleaner was reassembled, however it’s cleaning abilities were somewhat lessened. Although it was pretty obvious what had happened, Kreepy Krawly came out onsite, replaced the part, and never a question asked. The unit has not skipped a beat in the 24 months since and should continue to work provided I do not touch it again.
Processes and procedures cover every aspect of your business, and when broken down into individual components these processes and procedures can be applied to almost every business. Following as some generic business compatible processes and procedures. It is only a small list compared to everything that occurs during customer and business interactions.
How quickly do you issue refunds?
Can your stock retention times be reduced by better stock control?
Are phone customers left on hold?
Do you use an automated call direction system or are all calls answered by a human?
When delivering goods, what delivery time window do you provide?
Is a customer ever called post service/purchase?
Are your customer communications only ever initiated by the customer?
How often do you thank your customers? Your suppliers?
Ultimately, implementing industry leading processes, practices, and procedures is your first aim. Once you reach there, don’t rest on your laurels as there are always further improvements that can be made. Take your cues from what industries outside your own are doing and don’t stop innovating.