Roy's Blog

May 27, 2009

How can small business create a really awesome strategy?

If you own or operate a small business, how much time do you spend developing a strategy that allows you to navigate the turbulent waters of the current economy? I often hear ‘I don’t have time to plan, I’m too busy running my business.’, or ‘Everything is so unpredictable these days I don’t see the point.’ The truth is that every organization needs a strategy; otherwise how will you measure success?

It doesn’t have to be a complicated time consuming exercise. Using the BE DiFFERENT approach you can build an effective strategy in three days and execute it on the fourth.

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1. First, set your financial goals by deciding HOW BIG do you want to be?
The numbers’ determine the character of your strategy: modest goals yield minimal change and a relatively low risk strategy; aggressive goals require more directional change for your business with higher attendant risk.

2. Second, decide on the customers you want to target by answering WHO do you intend to SERVE? You have a choice here; customers are not all created equal and you need to focus on those who have the potential of satisfying your financial goals and leverage your core competencies.

3. Third, determine your competitive strategy through determining HOW will you WIN? This requires you to define your uniqueness versus your competition. If you can’t give your chosen customers unique and compelling reasons why they should buy from you and not your competitors then unfortunately you will have to play the price game which is not a strategy for the long term.
Try to develop your only statement. ‘We are the only ones that…’ This is an effective way to summarize your HOW to WIN work. It forces you to define precisely what you and only you provide the customers you have chosen to SERVE.

The final BE DiFFERENT step is to integrate the answers to all three questions into your Strategic Game Plan.

‘We will (HOW BIG) by focusing our scarce resources on (WHO to SERVE). We will compete by (HOW to WIN).’

Here’s an example:

‘We will grow sales revenue by 25% over the next 36 months by serving the needs of the four seasons vacationer market in Washington State. We will compete and win by creating personalized experience packages that incorporate the many activities that Whistler has to offer.’

Cheers, Roy Osing

Check out my BE DiFFERENT or be dead Book Series

  • Posted 5.27.09 at 01:06 pm by Roy Osing
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April 28, 2009

How to AMAZE your customers -  recover from your #service blunders

Rule #2 of the four step process to dazzle customers deals with how you respond to a service breakdown in your organization.

Typically service breakdowns include such things as a broken promise made to a customer, a product or service that doesn’t work the way the manual says it should, billing mistakes or service repairs that need to be redone because they weren’t completed right the first time.

The formula is:

Service Recovery = Fix it and Do the Unexpected.

Lets face it when you screw a customer over, they expect you to fix it. They aren’t dazzled when you correct your error; they don’t say ‘WOW I can’t believe you actually remedied what you screwed up!’.

This is where most companies fall short. They actually believe that by merely fixing their mistake the customer will be satisfied and their obligations will have been fulfilled.
If you are only concerned with satisfying customers that may be true but if you want to dazzle them and earn their lifelong trust and loyalty you need to go further.

The dazzle factor is about doing what they DON’T expect.

The challenge is to discover the extra action that will both surprise and delight the customer and blow them away .

The dazzle act must first of all be relevant to the customer. Providing something extra for the customer that doesn’t resonate with their needs, wants and desires will leave them scratching their head.

And it must be compelling. It must be a high priority with the customer to make them incredibly impressed that you would go to all that trouble.

You really need to know your customer really well.

And you don’t have forever to complete the recovery process.

Studies have found that you have about 24 hours to get it done;after that loyalty goes down the tube.

It is counterintuitive, but making a mistake and executing a dazzling recovery results in stronger customer loyalty than if the service breakdown never occurred at all!

Last point: if recovery is such a critical element in building customer loyalty, why are there very few organizations that have a recovery service strategy?

You can’t recover well by ad-hoc action. Recovery must be carefully thought out in terms of the customer group involved, the dazzle actions that should be taken and the level of recovery investment the company feels is necessary given the value of the customers they serve.

The dazzle plan and the required investments should reflect the value of the various customer groups served; the higher the customer value, the more robust the recovery actions and the higher investments that should be acceptable.

Cheers,
Roy

Check out my BE DiFFERENT or be dead Book Series

  • Posted 4.28.09 at 12:29 pm by Roy Osing
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