Sunday, June 25, 2006

When You Fail to Plan, You Fail - Customer Service

In working with various businesses, both large and small, I have seen a pattern emerge that is always predictable and that is the failure to plan. It really doesn't matter the size of the project or the flow, the cost, or the purpose, it just seems that business owners, managers and employees feel that there is no need to plan. This by the way includes the initial business plan for a startup business.

More business failures and product introductions, new lines or technology owe there failure of acceptance and thus there total failure to one very simple principle and that is the failure to plan. Oh! yes, I often hear the refrain from many if not most I've got it all in my head. Well what's not on paper isn't. I could write for days on this topic and I wonder if it would ever make an impact. I have been working with this one tech company, tech companies are the worst, to do a business plan so that we can move their product to market.

Why a business plan because the business plan contains elements that should define your product, your market, and strengths and weaknesses or S.W.O.T. analysis. In your product or service section it should contain market research on each product or service and how it will be accepted by your identified market including their need analysis, and rate of use. The one thing that is never if ever put into the customer section of the plan is the customer service principles that will govern the retention and loyalty factors needed to develop ongoing and continuing business.

Business plans are two types the one that 99% of everyone does, the one to retain financing, and the business plan that is the dynamic changing blueprint of the ongoing business. The latter should have embedded in it a plan for customer service policy, customer relationship management policies, customer experience policies and those for sales and marketing, employee training, hr and the implementation of those policies. Now you may ask why? It is really quite simple. If you want to succeed you need to have a map that can benchmark your performance and direction as a business, if not your company will take off and flounder.

Now many will argue that the above mentioned are not part of the business plan and should be separate. This can be the case, but if you want to measure the total performance of the business you need to have it in a perspective that can be quickly referenced.

Keep the day to day details and policies that govern your business including your customer management policies separate and match these against the business plan to make sure that they maintain the integrity of your over all vision and focus. If they deviate to much make the changes to bring them back in line. If the nature of the business and market are changing then change the business plan to reflect this and then change the policies to reflect your new direction. But always remember to be an effective customer centered business you need to plan it, reflect it and do it.

We invite your comments. Please feel free to comment and post your own responses.

If you would like to read more on customer service or the total customer experience please go to the "Customer Development Center at http://www.customerdevelopmentcenter.com.

1 comment:

HomeUser said...

A great site to find marketing/business plans is MegaDox.com They provide not only documents to startup a business, but also legal and business documents to allow you to maintain growth in your business.