What Now?

You are facing a downturn in the economy and business. What do you need to be doing right now?

Do you keep people or let them go?

What about your vendors and suppliers?

And what about your customers?

Consider the airline oxygen mask concept. Put your mask on first so you can ensure you’ll be able to help someone else get theirs on. You know this drill.

Your highest priority as a business owner is to protect the life and health of the company. Do everything you ethically can to keep the company alive. It’s like the federal government whose number one priority is to defend the country. It doesn’t matter how the economy and other parts of society are doing. If a foreign adversary attacks us and the government isn’t ready to defend us, then we all lose! Defend your company first!

Not your salary. Not your assets. And, unfortunately, not your employees.

Once you’re committed to this first priority, the decisions on everything else become clear. Notice I didn’t say easier. It’s clear what you must do to keep the company alive. Also be clear on the benefits of this commitment to all concerned once the crisis has passed:

  • Employees have an opportunity to find another job or to file for unemployment.
  • Vendors have someone they can collaborate with and possibly provide some temporary relief to in hopes of saving a valued and long-term customer.
  • Your best customers will be much more understanding than you think and quite possibly be willing to help.

Once the downturn is over and the company has survived, you can:

  • Hire back the people you laid off or new people.
  • Perhaps earn a favored customer status with your vendors.
  • Have customers who have a new respect for you and the company.

The real secret sauce here is to communicate with each of these groups. Go beyond just communicating. You must implement what we call the Three C’s:

  • Communicate
  • Collaborate
  • Cooperate

These are part  of our Core Values here at New Paradigm Advisors. If you apply these three C’s to the situation, we can assure you that your stress level will go down. It won’t go away.  However, it will go down. Apply the three C’s with your people, your customers, your advisors, and your vendors. You will be shocked, yet pleased,  with the results.

Call or email us and let us know your experience. Let’s learn together.

Being Customer Centric with the Right Customers

In every business, success comes down to understanding and satisfying the customers’ needs and wants. Name me one where this is not true.

Ok, the government.  But I asked for a business.

In today’s business jargon, we call this being customer centric. We hear tag lines like “the customer is always right” and “we put our customers first.” These slogans are just one of the ways we use to try and to get everyone, both inside and outside of our organization, to believe we treat our customer like royalty.

What if you thought differently about who your customer really is?

While this is somewhat counter intuitive, by looking in a different direction, you might win more business and build up an important internal resource.

Your employees. They are really your first customer.

The better you treat your employees, the better they will treat your customers. If you want your customers to love you, then love your employees. Show your employees how you want them to treat your customers by how you treat them.

And, truthfully, it helps your staff understand that if the company is successful, they will be successful.  Make them feel like owners and they will treat the customer that much better.

We recently discovered this unrecognized problem with a client.  It was the primary limiting factor for the company’s growth. Communicating with the customer was a very undeveloped skill. You would think this would be the death knell to the company.  Yet, surprisingly, this was an accepted behavior throughout their industry. This meant the customers really couldn’t get better treatment anywhere else. At this company, the customer could at least expect superior technical performance and results.

By treating their employees better, their business increased through better customer service.  And it was a differentiator for the company in their industry and made them, almost automatically, an industry leader.

We spend a lot of time, money and effort getting better at our technical proficiency, but we spend very little time learning how to treat our customer better.

By taking the time to focus on your internal customer, the end customer will be treated well and you will have wins all the way around.

Dave

*photo courtesy of rawpixel