1. Target your sales force to drive sales in the areas you want to grow, and ensure they pursue and secure the right kinds of customers.
2. Shore up your frontline service, installation, customer service, and sales teams to be able to provide outstanding and positive experiences.
3. Include a specific plan to nurture a clear and visible "perception" that doing business with your company "adds value" to the service you provide.
4. Study the kinds of things your competitors are doing in terms of outward perception that might have caused you to lose a sale even in cases where your price was cheaper. Learn as much as you can about your competitors and make the idea of doing business with you more attractive!
It's Not the Product
After so many years of talking about efficiency and cost cutting, truly successful companies are once again turning their attention to the customer as opposed to product or price alone. Many company owners feel they have already made all the reasonable cost savings they can. Rather than looking inside, take a look outside at customer experience management. I assure you that your customers will tell you exactly what they like and don't like. Then you can measure their response by looking at your numbers. In doing so, you will have found the primary ingredient for the recipe of sustained growth. I've suggested this process before, and it's just as relevant now as it was then. Think of a company you really enjoy doing business with. Then ask yourself to name one you don't like. Ask your entire team these two questions, and then ask everyone, "Why and what makes the difference?" Align your company with those fundamentals.
There is no doubt that existing customers will appreciate these renewed efforts. Averaging out responses to a number of recent consumer studies, 94 percent of consumers ranked "quality customer service and business relationships" as the top priority. Coming in second at 88 percent, consumers listed "variety of options and bundled services" even above price and incentives. These kinds of numbers were confirmed by a recent Harris Interactive poll finding that good customer service is "more" important than product and price when it boils down to loyalty.
In the end, if you truly intend to grow from within, my advice is to take some essential steps:
- Sit down with your top people and focus on your strengths and weaknesses.
- Create a strategic growth plan using this information about your strengths and weaknesses.
- Consider where you want to be in five years time, and what steps you must take daily, weekly, monthly and yearly to get there.
- Actively learn all you can about your competition.
- Get creative and allow for some flexibility.
- Bring your front line staff into the loop and share the big picture with them.
- Train them on the very best ways to stay focused on customers, resolve customer problems, and nurture meaningful relationships.
You have to create team involvement, because when you can sell it to your team effectively and the entire workforce buys into and shares the same strategic vision, your success at growing business will exist without limits. People must understand the goal to be an active part of achieving it. When it comes to your alarm business customers, their loyalty and your growth, never forget that satisfied customers buy from you, but delighted customers sell for you.
About the author: Bob Harris is managing director for The Attrition Busters. With over 30 years in the alarm industry, he provides seminars, business consulting, and workshops to help great companies become even better. Bob can be reached at (818) 730-4690 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Learn more about The Attrition Busters at www.attritionbusters.com.