Are you focusing on your customer?

Tony Hsieh, CEO of Zappos first book Delivering Happiness is about creating a culture around Profits, Passion and Purpose. If you are the CEO of a small to mid size service company or a business owner of a regional or national “for profit” enterprise than this book is a must read.

If you are looking for a clear differentiation between you and your main competitor, focusing on customer satisfaction is a great place to start widening your competitive edge by measuring that your leadership team is delivering on your #1 goal. Your second goal is creating a cohesive management team. Align your team with your vision. Individuals that can get it done today and have the mental capacity to get it done when you are three or ten times the size you are today. Your executive team should create a transparent personal performance contract that requires ownership and rewards “above average” results. Your third challenge is developing key performance indicators that gives you and your team a snapshot of how are you doing against your plan. Financial KPI’s that focus on the numbers and leading indicators that pay close attention to customer satisfaction and what drives sales.

100% customer satisfaction should not be a dream; it should be your minimum standard for you and everyone in your company. Customer loyalty is essential to create sustainable performance year over year. Will they continue to do business with you and do they not will they give you referrals? Are you tracking monthly what percentage of your customers refer or is your repeat customer percentage higher? Surveying clients and customers needs to be an ongoing effort by everyone. Phone calls for whatever reason, need to end with “…tell me if how we can make our relationship better?” or “…are we delivering our promise?” or “…what can we do differently that would make your job easier?” Your website should generate leads for your sales team. Your employees should be empowered to provide customer satisfaction without having to ask permission.

A cohesive leadership team is essential if you want to move from good to great customer satisfaction. Instill a “hard on performance and easy on people” culture. The hard part is getting the entire organization aligned around those objectives and understanding them. Developing a culture of accountability in exchange for their pay check is not a bad was to run a “for profit” company. In building and maintaining a cohesive management team requires 1% vision and 99% execution. I encourage you to have scheduled one-to-one’s with your management team and use this time to not only review performance but a time to get to know a little more of their personal side. Marshall Goldsmith’s newest book What Got You Here, Won’t Get You There is another good read.

Key performance indicators are either leading (windshield) or lagging (rear view mirror) snapshots telling you that up is good and down is bad. Have your CFO or controller create up to 8 financial indicators graphs or charts on one page using trailing 12 month (TTM) charts and graphs. Visit Kraig Kramer’s website for a complete list that will answer the question what gets measured gets done. Then you create up to 8 forward facing indicators also on one page that focus on leading indicators. What is essential when it comes to measuring your sales pipeline and getting your arms around predictability of your business? What are you measuring to improve your customer satisfaction?
At the end of the day, as Tony Hsieh, CEO of Zappos said, it’s all about profits, passion and purpose.

Published by edstillman

I grew up in Carlsbad, north San Diego County, lost my dad as a teenager, went into the USAF for four years and hired on with 3M in 1969. Received my AA from Santa Barbara City College, BA and Masters from Redlands University and after 33 plus years, I retired from 3M in 2002. As I look back on my life, I have been creating myself and developing my skill sets to be a business coach and a Vistage Chair. I am president of SEOT, a "personal improvement" consulting firm spending most of my time working with Central Texas executives running small to medium size for-profit companies who are focusing on improving their profitability greater than their competition. My area of interest is assisting senior executives in creating a better balance between business commitments and personal relationships. I also facilatate three leadership labs each consisting of a dozen owners, presidents and CEOs. We meet monthly both in a group setting as well as in a 1-to-1 coaching session. Our focus is to sharpen each others' skills in becoming better leaders, making better decisions and taking ourselves and companies to that next level. Who are we? My members are experienced top executives who recognize that they don’t have all the answers and who actively seek the company of successful peers—both to give and receive insights and ideas. My members mine the 200 plus years of chief executive experience that comes together in our monthly meetings and members are eager to offer their own experience and insights in the process. As a group, we spend our time exploring topics members can't discuss anywhere else. My members have many other places where they can engage in idle, "cocktail party" chatter. Our mission is to provide the setting for discussing the "undiscussable." Where or who can you go to for confidential, honest feedback to assist you in minimizing your personal "Worry List"?

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