Keeping Customers for Life


  • Select the right customers through market research.
  • Know your purpose for being in business.
  • Move customers from satisfaction to loyalty by focusing on retention and loyalty schemes.
  • Develop reward programs.
  • Customize your products and services.
  • Train and empower your employees in excellent customer service.
  • Respond to customers’ needs with speed and efficiency.
  • Measure what’s important to the customer – always add value.
  • Know exactly what customers want in their relationship with you.
  • Know why customers leave your enterprise by producing customer exit surveys.
  • Conduct a failure analysis on your enterprise.
  • Know your retention improvement measures – have a strategy in place.
  • Use market value pricing concepts.
  • Do what works all over again.

Remember:

96 percent of unhappy customers never complain; but if their problem remains unsolved, they usually tell ten other customers!

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.

Levels of Management


Many organizations have multiple levels of management—top management, middle management, and first-line, or supervisory management. These levels form a pyramid. There are generally more middle managers than top managers, and still more first-line managers. Very small organizations may have only one manager (typically, the owner), who assumes the responsibilities of all three levels. Large businesses have many managers at each level to coordinate the use of the organization’s resources. Managers at all three levels perform all five management functions, but the amount of time they spend on each function varies.

Top Management: in business top managers include the president and other top executives, such as the chief executive officer (CEO), chief financial officer (CFO), and chief operations officer (COO), who have overall responsibility for the organization. Top managers spend most of their time planning. They make the organization’s strategic decisions, decisions that focus on an overall scheme or key idea for using resources to take advantage of opportunities. They decide whether to add products, acquire companies, sell unprofitable business segments, and move into foreign markets. Top managers also represent their company to the public and to government regulators.

Middle Management: Rather than making strategic decisions about the whole organization, middle managers are responsible for tactical planning that will implement the general guidelines established by top management. Thus, their responsibility is more narrowly focused than that of top managers. Middle managers are involved in the specific operations of the organization and spend more time organizing than other managers. In business, plant managers, division managers, and department managers make up middle management.

First-line Management: Most people get their first managerial experience in first-line managers, who supervise workers and the daily operations of the organization. They are responsible for implementing the plans established by middle management and directing workers’ daily performance on the job. They spend most of their time directing and controlling. Common titles for first-line management are foreman, supervisor, and office manager.

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.

Breaking through the Ceiling


‘Average thinking’ not only leads managers away from excellence and away from their top performers. There is one final, and perhaps most damaging, way in which it harms a manager’s best efforts. ‘Average thinking’ actively limits performance.

Great managers, with their unique talents and styles, will have devised their own routes to excellence. But despite their success, it is still a shame that they have had to waste so much creativity maneuvering around performance evaluation schemes that unwittingly place a ceiling on performance. It is still a shame that they have had to exert so much energy railing against ‘average thinking.’ This energy and creativity would be much more valuable in the unfettered pursuit of excellence.

However, if you face the same ‘average thinking,’ you should rail against it just as energetically. Define excellence vividly, quantitatively. Paint a picture for your most talented employees of what excellence looks like. Keep everyone pushing and pushing toward the right-hand edge of the bell curve. It’s fairer. It’s more productive. And, most of all, it’s much more fun.

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.

Definitions of Strategy


Strategy: the science of planning and directing military operations, a plan or action based on this; skill in managing or planning, esp. by using stratagems. (Collins Pocket Dictionary, 1986)

Stratagems: a trick or plan for deceiving an enemy in war; any trick or scheme. (Collins Pocket Dictionary, 1986)

Strategic: sound in strategy; advantageous; needed for carrying on war; directed against the military and industrial installations of the enemy. (Collins Pocket Dictionary, 1986)

A strategy is a plan of action designed to achieve a particular goal. The word strategy has military connotations, because it derives from the Greek word for general. A strategy is a long term plan of action designed to achieve a particular goal. Strategy may also refer to:

  • Business strategy, the art and science of enabling an organization to achieve its objective
    • Marketing Strategy, a process that allows an organization to increase sales and achieve a competitive advantage
    • Technology strategy, a document that explains how information technology should be used as part of a business strategy
    • Digital strategy, the process of specifying an organization’s processes to deploy online assets
  • Trading strategy, a predefined set of rules to apply in finance (Wikipedia)

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.

Realigning the Organization


Organization or reorganization schemes have been proposed ad nauseam as solutions to many business problems. As a general rule, organizational changes, especially those that simply reshuffle the same names into different boxes on the organization chart, don’t improve anything. This does not mean suggesting some new organization approach that is better suited for these turbulent times. However, many organizations are too top-heavy, over-structured, and over-satisfied to be responsive to market needs and too costly to be competitive. The structure and staffing of any organization must be rigorously challenged to ensure it is really geared to accomplish the fundamental objectives of the business in as cost-effective a manner as possible. An honest evaluation of the answers to the following critical questions will provide a good function for action.

a)        Is the organization structured to serve markets or simply to manage functions and sell products? Have priority markets been identified? Does someone have primary responsibility for ensuring that the product/service package is tailored to each target market? Do mechanisms exist to ensure cross-markets? Is there any kind of a market focus in the selling organization?

b)        Are there enough discrete profit centers? Do enough managers feel the burden of full profit responsibility? Is the business unit larger than its most successful smaller competitors? Are there any big cost centers that are not assigned or allocated to someone who has a profit and loss responsibility?

c)        Are there corporate group or division staff redundancies? Do the same titles exist at different levels (e.g., corporate controller, group controller, division controller, plant controller)? If so, does it make sense? Can staff position or groups show how they actively contribute to profit results? If so, do line managers agree that these functions are worth the cost?

d)        Are there too many layers? Are there more than five layers between the business unit manager and first level workers? Are there managers with assignments limited to managing one, two, three or four people? Why? Can any of these activities be combined under one manager? Why not?

e)        Is the ratio of supporters to actual results producers satisfactory? How many people actually make a direct contribution to results (e.g., first-line sales personnel, direct hourly workers, sales order engineering and order entry workers, handlers of incoming materials, and storing and shipping personnel)? How many managers, staff, and support personnel are cheering them on? If there is more than one support person for every two producers, what do they do? How do they contribute to profits?

The questions are not new, but the answers are more important now than ever. Traditional or experience-based answers are probably wrong because conditions have changed so dramatically. Moreover, it is doubtful whether existing management can or will ever come up with the right answers, because they have vested interests and the changes needed are simply too tough for them to swallow. These organization structure questions are not as serious for many small to medium-size companies since they are not as likely to be troubled with highly structured, functionally focused organizations lacking a dedicated market orientation. However, even managers in these companies must constantly fight the natural tendency to become more structured, bureaucratic, and lethargic.

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

Same-day Delivery


Same-day delivery, or same-day service, is an excellent promotional scheme for increasing sales at very little additional cost. As the economy becomes increasingly attuned to a “buy it now, have it now” attitude, we become more and more frustrated with waiting days (or often weeks) for purchased products to arrive or for service to be performed. Companies willing to guarantee same-day delivery have found this to be an extraordinarily effective sales tactic that practically ensures a competing edge.

 

Despite the fact that most people regard time as a valuable commodity, few businesses pay any attention to rapid service. Manufacturing, retailers, and service forms want their bills paid on time, but all too often, they do not reciprocate.

 

Although sales tactics that promise and then fulfill same-day delivery within a specific area must always bring in new customers, for some businesses, same-day delivery is impossible.

 

Doing what you say you are going to do when you promise you will do it will inevitably increase service sales as effectively as rapid delivery does in product businesses. It is simply good public relations. Turning it around, when a plumber, electrician, or furnace repairperson promises to take care of your service problems tomorrow and actually does so, the chances are very good that you will call that person again when the service is 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 contact www.asifjmir.com, Line of Sight

Distinctive Competence


Distinctiveness is a relative concept – an organization is distinctive with respect to a benchmark established with reference to aspirations. For example, an organization may aspire to become the largest organization of its type in a region. Thus, one aspect of distinctiveness will be related to other organizations within that region, as this is their benchmark – not elsewhere in the world. However the benchmark for distinctiveness may change as the business model or livelihood scheme is explored – aspirations may become more ambitious as the group discovers that its distinctive competences are more distinctive than they had thought. Alternatively, sometimes a group realizes that they are not exploiting their distinctiveness as fully as they might, because they have not appreciated fully the nature of their distinctiveness.

The opposite may also occur. Here, a group discovers that much of what is distinctive is also useless in relation to their current aspirations. Many distinctive competences of an organization grow over time and the organization becomes so proud of them that they forget why they needed them. Distinctiveness is therefore relative to a benchmark, usually with respect to other organizations, existing or potential, as defined by the aspirations, rather than to any absolute criterion. This means that aspirations can subsequently be changed to become less demanding if increasing distinctiveness is difficult to come by. Exploring distinctive competences and aspirations must therefore be done together.

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 contact www.asifjmir.com, Line of Sight

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