Running a business is rarely easy. There are a lot of moving parts that require attention and there are only so many hours in the day to get everything done. As technology professionals, we often notice that small business owners can do themselves a disservice by not truly understanding their business—whether that be by having delusions of grandeur or by not having the proper perspective that would allow them to do more to build sustained and consistent prosperity. In this week’s blog we take a look at some of the ways that business owners hinder their chance of success.
Reveling in Past Successes
One of the most common issues that we see in business is when an owner or decision maker makes decisions with past successes (or failures) driving strategy. In order to make educated decisions, you need to know what is happening right now, and when an organizational leader makes decisions on how they “used to be” there is a significant chance that it’s going to do more harm than good. Things change pretty quickly nowadays and a decision that worked only a few quarters ago could be a devastating blow to your organizational long-term success.
One of the best ways to not be caught off guard by shifting business patterns is to use the data that your business generates to its advantage. Data flow can help business owners make decisions that are best for their business, not just decisions that stand on ceremony. With a robust data analytics and business intelligence platform in place, business owners can determine what strategies are working in real-time. This presents opportunities to change strategies much more quickly to respond to customer trends, and it can create a substantial advantage.
The Patients’ Asylum
Your employees are a completely essential part of your business. Even the most technology-laden organization needs people that know how to do their job and how it fits into the performance of their company. One problem that some organizations run into is that they don’t establish processes, they just allow their employees to continuously change the way things are done. By letting your staff dictate how your business is run, you can lose control in certain situations.
If you consider that only about a third of workers can be considered “engaged”, you will quickly come to the conclusion that if you don’t actively try to create repeatable and consistent processes, there is a significant chance that the success of your organization is in the hands of people that don’t actively care about the health of the business. In fact, most employees, if left to create processes they operate under, will only create ones that are simpler on them, not ones that actively work toward meeting organizational goals.
Ignoring Your Customers
No matter what type of business you run, there are going to be times where dealing with your customers will be extremely difficult. The lion’s share of your customers are going to be happy, but there are some times, rightly or wrongly, where customers need remediation. You can learn a lot from these situations. That’s not to say that whole processes need to be uprooted every time something negative happens, but if customers bring certain things to your attention, and they keep happening, you can use this adversity to help avoid situations like that in the future.
Many customer-based complaints have to do with either a product or service being unavailable at time of order, timely delivery of those products or services, or problems with support. In order to keep this from being a major issue, remember these four pieces of advice:
- Remain Composed – Sometimes people come in hot and before you even know what the problem is, they are fired up and ready for a fight. You need to remind your support staff to stay confident when confronted by an angry customer.
- Be Empathetic – Nothing is worse for a customer than having a problem and being completely dismissed when you reach out for support. Make sure your team stays empathetic with frustrated customers.
- It’s Not a Competition – Customer support should always look for a win-win scenario when dealing with customer complaints. Helping resolve customer issues doesn’t have to hurt the company too.
- Always Say Thank You – Regardless if a support call is rude and impatient or amiable and patient, your support staff should always thank customers for their feedback and for doing business with your company. It’s a simple way to disarm aggressive customers.
You need to do what you can to understand how your business is functioning. Today, there are business analytics and business intelligence platforms that can give your decision makers better perspective for a reasonable investment. If you would like to learn more about them, give our expert IT consultants a call at (903) 842-2220.