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Managing business change and advancement is akin to an insect shedding its skin. Key is customer satisfaction and customer focus
Hmm your thinking, this writer has lost his head, what the hell does an insect shedding its skin have to do with me growing my business? Give me a second and I'll explain, all businesses go through a process of big changes from time to time, which are necessary to keep them moving forward. These can include: moving to a new premises, hiring new staff, owners delegating day to day management, teaming up with other businesses or focussing on bigger customers. Changes like these are analogous to the growth of insects, it's a tough process to shed a skin and the new skin means big potential for growth etc.... So is it so different?
Over the years I have worked with many large and small businesses who are approaching a point of a step change. Microsoft a huge behemoth of a company, is a great example of a large business struggling with the need for change. It's hard when you make $100s of millions a year to make a big step change, but without it, the pressures from the likes of Google, Apple and Linux will be overwhelming. The same is also true for much smaller companies, especially those who have grown steadily and now have to make the jump to a medium sized business. Like the insect who struggles to free themselves from their carapace, so do businesses struggle to change and to meet the demands of stepping up a level. It's a dangerous time for business, large or small, like the insect, they're vulnerable to predators (competitors) and even death from the sheer strain of change. With this in mind, here are some useful hints and tips on how best to approach business change from a customer perspective. If you keep your customers happy, then any change you make is much more likely to succeed and be successful, so here goes:
Understanding your customers
· Make sure you have a clear idea of the type of customers you service and their needs
· Take a hard look at your customer base and try to segment them based on value to you. It's a temptation for all businesses to measure success based on customer base size. Success is based on profitability, so making sure you understand how your customers deliver this for you, is key to make the next step
· What do your valuable customers think about your, what is their customer satisfaction and what important services do you need to provide them to keep them coming back
· Know your competitors and the services they are offering to their customers. Make sure yours is better where it counts!
Once you have completed a review of your customers, you can use this to inform your business strategy. If you are planning to grow your business and move to the next level, you'll need a business strategy and it will also need to be designed around your customers. If you don't pay attention to your customers and put them at the heart of your business, you'll be in trouble. Here are some tips to helping you build that customer focussed business strategy:
Building a customer-centric business strategy
· Understand how big your potential valuable customer base can actually be. If it looks like there are lots out there, your business is probably ready for change.
· Review your services and how they meet the needs of your valuable customers and review the services you offer that don't add value to your valuable customers and ask the question, should I continue with them?
· Look at your organisation / staff and how best you can organise your business to meet your customer needs. Remember, to deliver sustainable growth for your business, you need to make sure you deliver great customer satisfaction and build customer loyalty. This can only be done, if your staff are able to quickly respond to customer needs, especially customer dissatisfaction. To achieve this goal, you'll need to empower your staff to make decisions and take action. For the boss, this means a re-think of day to day management and let's face it, the scary decision of letting go of day to day management to your people.
· Look at your most valuable customers and identify how you can win more of them through marketing or conversion of less valuable current customers.
· Dump customers who are not profitable, so you can make time and resource available for your valuable customers. This isn't easy to do but it is essential for business growth.
· Based on your findings build a business plan around your valuable customers covering all the points above.
· Look at how you can track progress, so you and those who work for you, know how they are doing.
· Finally, measure through customer feedback or using customer satisfaction surveys, how satisfied your customers are through your business transition. This is a key metric in tracking progress.
Well I hope you've found this useful. It's important to use an approach like this, as it really helps you take the plunge to move your business to the next level, but also provides the peace of mind, which says your on the right track. If you'd like to find out more, check out this site for a free guide http://ysatisfy.com/customer_focus/customer_focus.html
15 years working for blue chip companies on the web. These included Microsoft, Whitbread and Yahoo. Now head of Ysatisfy Customer Satisfaction Consultancy whose mission is to help business make money through loving their customers. Over the years I have developed my career to focus on understanding customers, from basic customer satisfaction research, to implementing customer care solutions and helping business better organise themselves around their most profitable businesses. After many years of working in large corporations, I'v decided to share what I've learnt to the world to help all business large or small to better server their customers and make great returns. Check out my website for more information.
Have a nice day!
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