Speed and Time


Speed and time measures are very important factors to many customers. The speed with which your company can deliver, whatever it provides, can actually gain you competitive advantage and allow you to offer higher satisfaction, and maybe even demand, or ask a price premium from your customers for that convenience of doing things faster or quicker. However it is not just about the core product, it is also about every single contact or initiation with a customer, from answering the telephone, to replying letters, to the length of a phone call, to how long you’ve been put on hold etc. the customer measures all these factors, largely unconsciously.

My Consultancy–Asif J. Mir – Management Consultant–transforms organizations where people have the freedom to be creative, a place that brings out the best in everybody–an open, fair place where people have a sense that what they do matters. For details please visit www.asifjmir.com, and my Lectures.

Technological Change and Diffusion


Both the rate of change of technology and the speed at which new technologies become available and are used have increased substantiality. Perpetual innovation describes how rapidly and consistently new, information intensive technologies replace a competitive premium on being able to introduce new goods and services quickly into the marketplace. In fact, when products become somewhat indistinguishable because of the widespread and rapid diffusion of technologies, speed to market may be the only source of competitive advantage.

My Consultancy–Asif J. Mir – Management Consultant–transforms organizations where people have the freedom to be creative, a place that brings out the best in everybody–an open, fair place where people have a sense that what they do matters. For details please visit www.asifjmir.com, and my Lectures.

Post-sale Customer Loyalty


Maintaining the loyalty of major current customers can be crucial for improving a business’s profitability as its markets mature. Loyal customers become more profitable over time. The firm not only avoids the high costs associated with acquiring a new customer, but it typically  benefits because loyal customers a) tend to concentrate their purchases, thus leading to larger volumes and lower selling  and distribution costs, b) provide positive word-of-mouth and customer referrals, and c) may be willing to pay premium prices for the value they receive.

Periodic measurement of customer satisfaction is important, then, because a dissatisfied customer is unlikely to remain loyal to a company over time. Unfortunately, however, the corollary is not always true. Customers who describe themselves as satisfied are not necessarily loyal. Indeed, 60 to 80 percent of customer defectors in most businesses are “satisfied” or “very satisfied” before their defection. In the interim, perhaps, competitors improved their offerings, the customers requirements changed, or other environmental factors shifted. Businesses that measure customer satisfaction should be commended, but urged not to stop there. Satisfaction measures need to be supplemented with examinations of customer behavior, such as measures of the annual retention rate, frequency for purchases, and the percentage of a customer’s total purchases captured by the firm.

Defecting customers should be studied in detail to discover why the firm failed to provide sufficient value to retain their loyalty. Such failures often provide more valuable information than satisfaction measures because they stand out as a clear, understandable message  telling the organization exactly where improvements are needed..

My Consultancy–Asif J. Mir – Management Consultant–transforms organizations where people have the freedom to be creative, a place that brings out the best in everybody–an open, fair place where people have a sense that what they do matters. For details please visit www.asifjmir.com, and my Lectures.

 

Human Capital


The economic growth, employment levels and the availability of a skilled workforce are inter-related. Economic growth creates employment, but economic growth partly depends on skilled human resources – a country’s human capital. The concept encompasses investment in the skills of the labor force, including education and vocational training to develop specific skills.

Personal and national success are increasingly correlated with the possession of skills. Skilled individuals can command a premium salary in periods of high economic activity. Worldwide, unemployed levels remain high, while organizations have difficulty filling vacancies which require specific expertise. A shortage of skilled people can act as a limiting factor on individual organizations and on the economy as a whole. Small firms are also vulnerable because their owners do not possess basic marketing and finance skills. It is in the interest of any country to maximize its human resources by investing in the skills of its workforce, its human capital. Human capital is one component of a country’s overall competitiveness.

The most successful developing countries are investing heavily in the education and technical skills of their population. Skills requirement are particularly critical at the managerial level.

My Consultancy–Asif J. Mir – Management Consultant–transforms organizations where people have the freedom to be creative, a place that brings out the best in everybody–an open, fair place where people have a sense that what they do matters. For details please visit www.asifjmir.com, and my Lectures.

 

Convenience Stores


Convenience stores are actually mini supermarkets. They carry many of the same food and nonfood items that are sold in supermarkets, but they offer a limited selection of brands. The products are normally packaged in small sizes, to allow shelf space for other items. Convenience stores do not have meat or fresh produce departments. One of the most significant changes in convenience stores has been the addition of gasoline.

Since convenience store prices on non-gasoline items are typically higher than supermarket prices, we should ask why people shop at them. Many shoppers tolerate the higher prices because the total of their convenience store purchases is quite small. They are willing to pay a little extra for the convenience of being able to make purchases quickly and easily. Consumers recognize that they are paying a little more for these products than they would at a supermarket. But most people are not willing to invest the extra time and effort to go to the supermarket to save a few cents on one or two items. In effect, the convenience store retailer charges the consumer a premium for this time savings.

My Consultancy–Asif J. Mir – Management Consultant–transforms organizations where people have the freedom to be creative, a place that brings out the best in everybody–an open, fair place where people have a sense that what they do matters. For details please visit www.asifjmir.com, and my Lectures.

 

Outstanding Credit Culture


Just as individuals need a set of values (virtues) to guide their actions, systems should be designed to have a set of attributes which optimize their performance towards the goals. In this regard, the credit culture should have seven fundamental virtues:

  1. Provide fundamental insight to help clients achieve their economic goals and solve their financial problems.
  2. Responsive: the client deserves an answer as quickly as possible, even when the answer is no.
  3. Flexible (creative): commit to finding better ways to meet the client’s financial needs.
  4. Reliable: select clients as long-term partners and treat accordingly.
  5. Manage risk with agreed upon limits. Clients do not want to fail financially, and you should want a bad loan.
  6. Ensure an appropriate economic return to the firm for risk taken. The higher the risk, the higher the return the lower the risk, the lower the return. This is the expression of justice.
  7. Create a “premium” for service delivery. The concept is to provide superior value to the client through outstanding service quality.

My Consultancy–Asif J. Mir – Management Consultant–transforms organizations where people have the freedom to be creative, a place that brings out the best in everybody–an open, fair place where people have a sense that what they do matters. For details please visit www.asifjmir.com, and my Lectures.

 

Improving Quality


Improving quality is a lot like taking vitamins, eating healthy foods, and exercising regularly. Although the results may not be immediate, long-term benefits are significant. Quality is neither a quick fix nor the program of the month, but rather a way of life for companies who are serious about improvements.

Quality is a fundamental to creating value, yet it is a moving target and must meet the customers’ current definition of quality. Thus, we offer the following recommendations for improving service quality and ultimately delivering superior customer value:

  • Design services in cooperation with customers. Learn what customers truly value by incorporating the voice of the customer earlier in the service development process. Also, it is important to determine not only the customers’ preferred service attributes but their relative importance, as well.
  • Focus your improvement programs outward, on market break points. Only by defining those episodes, when the customer comes in contact with the organization, and by focusing on the ones most critical can you see things as the customer sees them. Also, visualize the complete sequence of the moments of truth a customer experiences in having some need met. Remember, the customer sees service in terms of a total experience, not an isolated set of activities. Mapping the service cycle helps companies see these activities as the customer sees them.
  • Create a triangle representation of service quality. Hotels and restaurants often advertise and display on their properties ratings by one of the major motor clubs, such as AAA or Mobil Oil, Hertz #1 Gold Club service communicates a premium, value-added bundle of services to business travelers seeking a hassle-free car rental experience.
  • Use teamwork to promote service excellence—service workers who support one another and achieve together can avoid service burnout.
  • Create a service bias based on each of the following service quality determinants: professionalism, attitudes and behaviors, accessibility and flexibility, reliability and trustworthiness, service recovery, and reputation and credibility. These criteria can be used as guidelines for influencing positive service quality perceptions.
  • Develop proper measurements. Use metrics that are specific on nature, such as 95% on-time-delivery, customer wait time, or order processing time. Benchmark the best practices for each service are being measured, such as wait time or order delivery.
  • Employee selection, job design, and training are absolutely crucial to building customer satisfaction and service quality. Structure the job of service workers to maximize their ability to respond quickly and competently to customer needs. Also, train service personnel in areas of service delivery and attitude. Role play different service scenarios, showing various service recovery strategies. Provide service workers with some basic tools to help control service quality variation and uncover service problems.
  • Reward total quality efforts in marketing. Look for opportunities to reinforce quality behaviors when they occur. Employees should be rewarded ob the basis of these behaviors (commitment, effort) rather than strictly on outcomes, such as sales quotas. Rewarding a salesperson for meeting or exceeding quota with a bonus while giving a nominal award such as a pin or plaque to the person who fixes the product or process sends a clear message about the importance of quality.
  • Think of service as a process, not a series of functions. Service quality occurs when the entire service experience is managed and the organization is aligned to respond accordingly.

My Consultancy–Asif J. Mir – Management Consultant–transforms organizations where people have the freedom to be creative, a place that brings out the best in everybody–an open, fair place where people have a sense that what they do matters. For details please visit www.asifjmir.com, and my Lectures.

Truth and Reconciliation in Business


Truth and reconciliation in business without consistent, decisive, action will rapidly turn into a nightmare. Decisions and actions must be swift and if relationship mapping is to be engaged, it must be engaged fast and directly connected to the truth and reconciliation in business exercise.

Communication will be at an absolute premium and there are several points that the exercise must deliver on. Truth and reconciliation in business must:

  1. Lift the lid on silence and denial;
  2. Give everyone within the organization the chance to have their grievances heard and their ideas listened to;
  3. View the organization as one entity, not separate entities with different expectations and responsibilities. Everybody involved must be equally responsible and accountable for all outcomes and there can be no splintering into different groups, as this will set the seed for different sub-cultures to grow back;
  4. Accept the principle of mutual shared responcibility for any previous shortcomings of the organization.
  5. Encourage the building of a new social network that straddles previous divides, and delivers ongoing dialogue and interaction across every dimension of the organization;
  6. Determine what is negotiable and what is non-negotiable; and
  7. Make clear recommendations for the future, start to define responsibilities, expectations and desired relationships, start the process of reform, and begin to define a working culture for the organization as a single entity.

Engaging in Truth and Reconciliation in business is a great start for any organization looking to develop amazing relationships and enjoy amazing success, but it is only the start of the process. Organizations must be able to maintain what they have started.

My Consultancy–Asif J. Mir – Management Consultant–transforms organizations where people have the freedom to be creative, a place that brings out the best in everybody–an open, fair place where people have a sense that what they do matters. For details please visit www.asifjmir.com, and my Lectures.

Premium for Speed


A factor that is driving the trend towards automating the sales department is the extent to which speed has become a strategic advantage in the selling process. Once, it was acceptable for salespeople to promise to get back to customers with answers to questions. Increasingly, those salespeople are finding that by the time they get back to their customers with the necessary information, the sales opportunity has evaporated. The ability to respond to customers quickly is crucial to success, and the tolerances are narrower than ever before.

Similarly, the ability to compress the sales order cycle is becoming an extremely significant factor in a competitive situation. Your customers, who are under the same competitive pressures as you, are placing more and more emphasis on increased cash flow and reduced inventories. Reducing your sales order cycle from four days to two can make an important and measurable difference, certainly enough of a difference to determine whether or not you get the order.

My Consultancy–Asif J. Mir – Management Consultant–transforms organizations where people have the freedom to be creative, a place that brings out the best in everybody–an open, fair place where people have a sense that what they do matters. For details please visit www.asifjmir.com, and my Lectures.

Differentiation Strategy


With the differentiation strategy, the unique attributes and characteristics of a firm’s product (other than the cost) provide value to customers. Because a differentiated product satisfies customers’ unique needs, firms following the differentiation strategy usually charge premium prices. To do this successfully, a firm must truly be unique at something or be perceived as unique. The ability to sell a good or service at a price that exceeds what was spent to create the product’s differentiated features allows the firm to outperform its rivals and earn above average returns.

 Rather than costs, the differentiation strategy’s focus is on continuously investing in and developing features that differentiate a good or service in ways that customers value. Overall, a firm using the differentiation strategy seeks to be different from its compititors along as many dimensions as possible. The less similarity between a firm’s goods or services and those of competitors, the more buffered the firm is from rival’s actions.

 A product can be differentiated in an almost endless number of ways. Unusual features, responsive customer service, rapid product innovations and technological leadership, perceived prestige and status, different tastes, and engineering design and performance are examples of approaches to differentiation. In fact, virtually anything a firm can do to create real or perceived value for customers is a basis for differentiation. The challenge is to identify features that create value for the customer.

 My Consultancy–Asif J. Mir – Management Consultant–transforms organizations where people have the freedom to be creative, a place that brings out the best in everybody–an open, fair place where people have a sense that what they do matters. For details please visit www.asifjmir.com, Line of Sight

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