Friday, 17 May 2013

Briefly On Business: Can You State Your Strategy Statement?

One major problem most business executives encounter is to briefly state their company's strategy statement. No company can operate successfully without having a clear statement about their strategy.

Researchers have identified three components of a successful strategy statement: objective, scope, and advantage.

Strategic Objective
This identifies the factors that drive the business over the next few years.

Strategic Scope
A firm's scope encompasses three dimensions: customer or offering, geographic location, and vertical integration.
Boundaries make it easy to identify which activities the firm should concentrate on and which they shouldn't.

Strategic Advantage
A strategic Advantage shows what makes the company unique and different in the market.

With a clear definition of your strategy, formulation and implementation become infinitely easier-the statement will be easier to communicate, and will empower your people to raise the performance of your organization.

-- I Spring 2013 I Harvard Business Review OnPoint

Monday, 29 April 2013

Why Customer Care is Important

Some reasons why customer care is important  were highlighted in a survey carried out by the CBI (Confederation of British Industry) in 2009.  

Their main conclusions were:
    Only 1 customer in 10 with grounds for complaint actually does so.
    Those customers who experience problems tell between 8 and 15 people about the problems, whether or not they have formally complained.

    9 out of 10 people who complain and have a problem that is not dealt with satisfactorily will never buy again from that supplier, or do so as a last resort.

    9 out of 10 people who complain and have a problem that is dealt with satisfactorily will buy again from that supplier. In fact, they rate the supplier higher than if the problem never occurred in the first place

    It costs 5 times more to attract a new customer than to keep an existing one.

5 Characteristics of Businesses that provide high standard Customer Care

Customer service is an integrate part of an successful business. It is important to any business serious about the welfare of its customers, and it has proved to be a good tool for increasing sales, building customer loyalty and profit making in the long run.

Frank Atkinson identified the hallmarks of businesses that are serious about taking care of their customers

  1. They  provide value for their customers. You want your customers to have the best product or service that their money can buy.
  2. They follow up on customers. They provide after service to help customers maximize the benefits of the product or service
  3. They provide a friendly environment for business. Customers love dealing with friendly businesses
  4. They respond quickly. They know the impact of not attending to customers' demands on any business, hence they are quick to attend to any enquiries.
  5. They do regular appraisal. They appraise their  services regularly in order to improve on customer  experience through their products or services.
We are all customers, treat your customers they way you want other businesses to treat you.

Thursday, 11 April 2013

8 Things Entrepreneurs do that Customers don’t like

In business today, experts have written a lot about the characteristics and qualities of successful entrepreneurs. Unfortunately these qualities do not often translate into customer satisfaction. There is no doubt that consumers are complex and difficult to understand, however small business owners need to minimize the rate of consumers' complaint. If consumers continue to complain about services provided by small businesses, it will be difficult to get loyal customers.
When an entrepreneur is operating in a large market, there is a tendency to disrespect some consumers. Sometimes it may not be deliberate; unfortunately consumers don’t wait for explanation before they react. In other cases, business owners take advantage of the fact that there is always a market for their businesses hence; they can afford to pay lip service to service quality and customer relationship management because they believe that there will always be customers. This type of attitude erodes consumer confidence in the long run.
Here is a list of things that entrepreneurs do that offend consumers up to the point of switching to competitors.

1.         When trust is broken:
Customers do business on trust. They believe in the ability and expertise of the entrepreneur to provide the best advice as a basis for decision making. The entrepreneur serves as a bridge through which consumers meet their needs. Anything less, the consumers feel betrayed, angered and confidence is lost.

2.         When you fail to meet their expectations:
Sometimes, in a bid to impress, small businesses can promise and fail to deliver. Customers hate to be disappointed, and are angry with businesses that consistently fail to meet their needs especially when you have made promises to them.

3.         Giving customers an unsatisfactory response:
When you fail in meeting customers’ need, your response to their questions can dissolve any anger in them. It is bad to disappoint customers and at the same time fail to justify your actions. Customers can forgive you when they know that the situation was beyond you.

4.         When you take customers for granted:
Business exists because of consumers. The consumer wants to feel important and needed. They don’t want to feel less important to others. They want to be respected, listened to and attended to promptly.

5.         When you care about the money than customers’ welfare:
Satisfied customers are likely to come back. Aim to meet their needs, and they will happily give you the money. Consumers love businesses that gives them an unforgettable experiences, and in most cases, they will be willing to pay for such.

6.         When there is no effort to catch up with competitors:
Customers don't like businesses that lag behind in innovation. No matter how much your customers love you and your product; they want you to meet their current needs. Consumers don’t like feeling inferior when they compare themselves with customers from your competitors.

7.         Customers hate entrepreneurs that argue with them:
The customer is king, and no king wants to engage in an argument with his subjects. Argue with a customer even when they are wrong, and they will never come back to you except your services are essential. As an entrepreneur, you should be an expert in communication and conflict resolution. Be polite in resolving an issue with a customer.

8.         Not enough experience:
While managing a small business that handles all forms of office documents, I had problems with my customers because I lacked experience in handling public documents. Although I had experience handling the internal documents of the company where I worked earlier, that experience was inadequate for managing public documents. I never knew until some customers became mad at me.

Customers can be great when they are happy. They help you build your business and will always recommend you to friends. However to keep that relationship always positive, you need to identify what makes them angry, and avoid such as much as possible.