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Is Your Leadership Measuring & Reviewing... At Least Quarterly... Your Customer Contact & Performance Changes......? Why Not....?

By Sid Chadwick, Chadwick Consulting, Inc. – 06/06/2024

 

Not reported by major news services….“…Despite the gradual slowdown in official inflation readings over the past several months, the Conference Board reported that....The share of consumers expecting higher interest rates over the year ahead also rose, to 56.2% from 55.2%....” The Wall Street Journal, May 29, 2024.

 

 

INTRODUCTION:

If you were tracking closely what was changing in company performance – and - your customer contact behaviors, you’d have a better idea….of what to do next….!


Too often, if the top-line and bottom-line look half-way acceptable, and particularly when comparing “Year-to-Date” numbers, then there’s little in-depth discussion about what appears to be changing, and what needs follow-up…!


Too few organizations are reviewing, calculating…at least quarterly

  • Which customers did not call for a quote this month/quarter…? (Too often, this omission is only discovered after we’re six months “down the road”…)

  • Which customers have an interest in a long-term agreement. (The value of your company would change almost immediately. Note: A few of our best clients have over 40% of their customers on “long-term agreements.”)

  • What requests occurred that we did not respond positively to…? (These questions/requests can occur with CSR’s, Sales Reps, Drivers, Receptionists, and Estimators). Note: Did we follow-up to assist the caller, and learn more about them, and who they know or are related to…?

  • Who requested a Service that they normally don’t request, and what was it? (e.g., Samples shipped to a Press Conference, delayed shipments after a “Rush Request,” Shorter runs that became Digital instead of Offset, Skipping of a Quarterly Publication, product put into Storage & Fulfillment, Trade Show support,  etc.)

  • Which customers did we ask, “What would you like us to improve next time?” What did we hear…?

  • Which target prospects did we ask, “On this project sample from your regular supplier, what do you wish were better?” What did we hear?

  • Number of Plant Tours…especially with prospects & customers last quarter..? “Plant Tour Survey” results…?

  • What are our goals re. Value-Added as a % of Revenues…?

  • How are we improving the quality and content of our Requests for Estimates that our customers receive…?

  • What Trade Shows were attended? Results…?  What needs to improve…?

  • How many Referrals were captured last month…? Last quarter…? Were converted…? How many previous Referrals placed their 2nd and 3rd orders…?

  • Which customers have upcoming Anniversaries…?

  • Which customers received “Letters of Appreciation”… for their timely payments…?

  • How many Periodic Business Reviews were conducted…with Top 20 customers? Do we have any scheduled for next quarter…? Were Reports issued to customers re. “What was learned…?”

  • What % of our revenues do our top ten customers generate? Any Improvements…?  Any improvements expected…?

  • What alterations were not charged? Why? Compared to previous months…?

  • How many customer Proofs had errors? Why? Compared to previous months…? Follow-up…?

  • What departments and shifts improved their productivity/revenue per employee hour worked…? Per payroll dollar…?

  • Which employees are in skills development classes this quarter…? Which classes…?

  • Where do we need better Cross-Training…and “back-up”…to ensure reliable deliveries?

  • Are Sales Rep & Inside CSR Training Sessions scheduled for the upcoming quarter…?  Are Agendas approved by participants…?

  • Have all employees received written Performance Reviews – in the last 6 months…?


Someone… needs to take notes and issue minutes… from these discussions.


And your next Monthly or Quarterly Review needs to begin with - a Review of these minutes…!

 

SUMMARY:

You can’t do everything at once….With that said, weren’t there a dozen or so options you just read – that caught your attention - that are worth initiating….?


Too many organizations may give problems and opportunities… a limited Review…and then… fail… when it comes to “committed, relentless follow-up.”


Accountability…flows from the top down.


Customers want to… frequently be reminded…what their best suppliers are doing – to keep their performance at a top-notch, sharp edge…!


Follow-up surprises and opportunities…are guaranteed…and tend to lead to thrilling, new initiatives…that improve the value of your customers, and your company…!

 

 

“I’ll tell you what leadership is…It’s persuasion and conciliation and education and patience. It’s long, slow, tough work. That’s the only kind of leadership I know.”….President Eisenhower, Gen. Jim Mattis, Sec. of Defense, Call Sign Chaos, p. 19.

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