Are Your Customers Satisfied?
Too many businesses assume that
their customers are satisfied with the service they are receiving.
In some cases, making such an assumption is a recipe for failure.
Many businesses simply do not understand how to deliver outstanding
customer service. In fact, many don't understand how to achieve
even mediocre levels of service. Knowing how your customers feel
about your business, its products/services and the level of service
being provided is critical to making necessary adjustments in
processes, people and other facets of the organization. Surveying
your customer base is one way of identifying customer perceptions
of your business. We recommend that a customer satisfaction survey
be conducted at least once per year. Surveying a few hundred
customers (or fewer if your business has less than a few hundred
customers) can yield important results that, when followed up
on, can mean the difference between success and failure.
It is critical to measure the
success of your business based on what are sometimes called "key
indicators" or "performance measures". These are
nothing more than the primary factors by which the success of
the business and its various parts should be measured. They should
be easy to measure and track and they must be the most critical
and meaningful measures of success. Some examples include gross
profit, sales, returned goods, customer complaints, amount billed
to amount collected, and billable hours.
Employees Cannot Establish
In well managed businesses, employees
are highly accountable for results and for their time. We find
in too many businesses a lack of accountability for either. Employees
must understand that they come to work to do just that. And they
must also understand that, as long as they are reasonable, they
are to strive to meet expectations. The problem that exists in
many organizations is that employees are allowed to call too
many shots. They establish the level of work being done and the
level of accountability. There are too many managers in the business
world who simply will not manage to the level they need to manage.
Nowhere is this more apparent than in their inability to instill
a high level of discipline and accountability. They allow their
employees to do their own thing and "set the bar".
In these organizations, results are usually unacceptable. Are
your managers instilling high levels of accountability and productivity?
Avoid Emotional Roller
Good managers maintain a fairly
even emotional state while at work. They don't allow things to
bother them too much, yet they don't take things that are important
too lightly either. Taking a "level" approach to going
about day-to-day activities and management of people is critical
to maintaining a smooth functioning organization. Businesses
that are too "high strung" tend to "lock up"
and not make the type of progress they need to. Also, managers
who are too emotional or hot tempered send negative messages
to those around him/her and let them know that they have difficulty
handling tough situations. Keep in mind that nearly everything
works out and staying as emotionally even as possible will help
you and those who work for you get through difficult times.
Be Honest With Your
Establishing a sound relationship
with your bank is important. Too many businesses inflate projections,
fail to provide important information when necessary and even
lie to their bank. These actions do nothing more than erode the
relationship between the business and a key partner. Keeping
the bank apprised of important activities and information and
being as honest as possible are critical to keeping the bank
comfortable with your situation. When projections consistently
miss their target by big amounts and the representatives of the
business fail to be up-front and honest, the bank loses confidence
in those who manage and/or own the business. This usually begins
a process that could cost the business its ability to borrow