Most executives believe they truly know their business. They understand the product, know the market, have a thorough understanding of the financials etc.. However, you would be surprised how much they don’t know about things that are truly important.
Here are a few things to think about:
How often do you call your business using the same methodology a customer would use? This means, calling the regular number, going through the phone tree, speaking with the receptionist etc. You might be surprised that it’s not as intuitive or user friendly as you might think. Do you ever call your business during “off hours” (assuming these exist). Recently, a friend called his business when it was busy so the call went to voice mail and he found the hours stated on the voice mail message were wrong. The message hadn’t been changed in over a year but they added Sunday hours so anyone calling would hear they were closed on Sundays when they really weren’t. If you get a receptionist, can you get to the person you are trying to reach without having to “jump through hoops” (it’s important that the receptionist not know it’s you calling).
How often do you try navigating through your own web site to find information or to make a purchase? Is it as easy as you would like? Are you even able to find what you are looking for?
How often do you actually go through the step by step process that your customers go through? As an example, if you run a camp, you know that registration/check in the first day takes a great deal of planning. People need to be assigned different tasks, procedures must be established and followed etc. However, do you ever wait in line with the other people waiting to register and see what they are experiencing? Sometimes, the procedure that works best for your organization ends up being very inefficient for the customer.
The more you “mystery shop” your own business, the more you will learn.
The second part of knowing your business is from your employees perspective. It’s important to know what happens when a customer calls your business but it’s also important to understand what your employees are experiencing. This would include the following:
If you aren’t the one answering the phones, spend a couple of hours doing that job. This is a GREAT way to find out what your customers are really thinking. Executives frequently try to insulate themselves from their customers when the reality is, they need to know what their customers are wanting.
Spend a few hours doing each of the jobs within your company. Using a hotel as an example, spend an hour or two at the front desk checking people in and out and answering the phones. Take on the role of housekeeper for a few rooms. Be involved with the setting up of an event in a meeting room.. Take a customer or two to the airport
Frequently, we think we know how things are going and what everyone is doing because 10 years ago we started off doing those things. The problem is, processes change, people change situations change and if we don’t change with them, we get left behind.
Do you really know your business?
Have a great day!
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