How do you deliver your product or service to your customers?
Many business owners think if they hand the customer the pizza, weld the frame with double welds, spend an extra hour editing the photo or simply go above and beyond in the quality of their product/service, they can hand the customer the product and everyone will be happy.
I know, I need a better content writer that will make sure my potential clients only hear nice and happy ideas about how wonderfully easy running a successful business is. But here’s the problem, I’ve built several businesses from the ground up and not one single time has it been easy. The “Easy Success” message would sell well, but the problem is that deliveries would actually suck. (I can sell something that isn’t true, but I can’t deliver it.)
We all want a free lunch, a hall pass or back-stage pass to business success.
But there are two problems with that message.
First, I know it’s not true.
Second, you know it’s not true.
Even if we both want it to be true, it’s not. So let’s push that fantasy to the side, jump in with both feet, and build a business that your customers love, you’re proud of, and your kids would want to work there when they grow up. (if you have kids. If you don’t, let me know, I’ve got extras.)
How you interact with your clients as you deliver your service and update your client files to be able to service them in the future is vital to the sustainability of your business.
Have you ever experienced a sold customer that didn’t get delivered or canceled before they officially became a client?
Many business owners spend a lot of marketing time and investment, sell the customer and sometimes even pay the salesperson – only to lose the customer during the install or shortly thereafter. This is a really expensive way to lose a client – and in my past, I’ve lost many customers this way myself. It was a painful (but valuable) lesson. While I never perfected the art of never losing clients, I did figure out how much this cost me, and I learned how to minimize these losses.
I’m just being real here because “perfection” is rarely possible, even for me with all the success I’ve had. The good news is that “excellence” is within grasp. As much as I’d like to say I figured out perfection (and sell you on the idea that you can too), it wouldn’t be honest .
Typical consultants will dispense advice about “best practices” when it comes to the customer experience. However; nine times out of ten, these consultants actually haven’t experienced such losses and have never had to solve these problems themselves! As a business owner, you need a business coach that has experienced the same challenges that you are working through and even more importantly, has solved them.
It’s critical to develop a two-pronged solution to fulfillment/delivery similar to the sales process. Successful business owners develop a sustainable and scalable process and a high-quality customer experience in receiving your products and services. The experience part of this is relatively easy to decipher, but it’s equally important to track results and processes to ensure your sustainability of quality delivery. While I will continually state running your business according to these principles is “simple”, I will rarely say it’s “easy”. But long-term, it’s the win-win for you and your customers.
Indicators that your Fulfillment Gear is Out-of-Sync:
Poor fulfillment/delivery of goods or services tend to show up in finance, sales and management.
Your sales department will complain loudly if their sale is lost during delivery. This doesn’t automatically mean this is a fulfillment problem, but it can be a strong indicator. If you have repeated issues with different sales people with lost sales and commissions, it very much could be your Fulfillment Gear is out-of-sync.
Your operations/admin employees can show evidence of a problem in your Fulfillment Gear. When clients are not getting what they expected in the time frame they expected, they will tax your organization in multiple ways.
- Customer service complaints – if the employees that are tasked with handling service issues are getting worn out – look into how your service is being delivered and what sort of expectations are being given to the customer at the time of delivery.
- Discounts being given to clients to make them happy because of bad or late delivery will show up in your Finance Gear. Make sure your bookkeeper has a few separate categories for discounts and rebates so you can know if they happened during the sales process or if they occurred during fulfillment.
- Management employees can have their time taxed responding to online complaints and reputation management issues because of fulfillment being out-of-sync