AABP Award 728x90

Recessions reveal problems


.floatimg-left-hort { float:left; } .floatimg-left-caption-hort { float:left; margin-bottom:10px; width:300px; margin-right:10px; clear:left;} .floatimg-left-vert { float:left; margin-top:10px; margin-right:15px; width:200px;} .floatimg-left-caption-vert { float:left; margin-right:10px; margin-bottom:10px; font-size: 12px; width:200px;} .floatimg-right-hort { float:right; margin-top:10px; margin-left:10px; margin-bottom:10px; width: 300px;} .floatimg-right-caption-hort { float:left; margin-right:10px; margin-bottom:10px; width: 300px; font-size: 12px; } .floatimg-right-vert { float:right; margin-top:10px; margin-left:10px; margin-bottom:10px; width: 200px;} .floatimg-right-caption-vert { float:left; margin-right:10px; margin-bottom:10px; width: 200px; font-size: 12px; } .floatimgright-sidebar { float:right; margin-top:10px; margin-left:10px; margin-bottom:10px; width: 200px; border-top-style: double; border-top-color: black; border-bottom-style: double; border-bottom-color: black;} .floatimgright-sidebar p { line-height: 115%; text-indent: 10px; } .floatimgright-sidebar h4 { font-variant:small-caps; } .pullquote { float:right; margin-top:10px; margin-left:10px; margin-bottom:10px; width: 150px; background: url(http://www.dmbusinessdaily.com/DAILY/editorial/extras/closequote.gif) no-repeat bottom right !important ; line-height: 150%; font-size: 125%; border-top: 1px solid; border-bottom: 1px solid;} .floatvidleft { float:left; margin-bottom:10px; width:325px; margin-right:10px; clear:left;} .floatvidright { float:right; margin-bottom:10px; width:325px; margin-right:10px; clear:left;}
I am no sailor, but I do love watching “The Deadliest Catch” – the ultimate “reality” show about crab fishing in the Bering Sea. When the fishermen head into port to unload their catch, high tide presents no problems. Take any route into the harbor; it’s easy. However, in low-tide conditions, sandbars and dangerous rocks are revealed.

The current economy has created a similar situation for many businesses. The “low tide” of diminished revenues has exposed weaknesses in organizations that were always there but easy to ignore during profitable times.

Here are three problems we repeatedly encounter working with clients.

Unidentified sweet-spot customer. Everyone is not your customer. Salespeople calling on customers who will not buy or advance your business and marketing messages geared to nobody in particular are just two indicators that you are wasting valuable resources. When sales are at “high tide,” these behaviors go undetected or are ignored.

Take a hard look at your existing portfolio of customers. Determine the characteristics of your preferred customers and home your sales and marketing messages in on these prospects.

Lack of relevant customer promises. Customers define what is relevant. Creating products, features or policies that do not resonate with your clients will not float during a lean economy.

Defining a short list of relevant promises to your customers not only ensures you are providing them with goods or services to which they assign value, but also focuses your entire organization. Imagine the power of everyone in your company sharing the same vision of what is important to your clients while contributing to the delivery of that experience.

Customer promises also become an invaluable decision-making tool. No reason to guess if that capital expenditure, marketing campaign or corporate process is right. Simply run the idea through your “promise test.” If it helps fulfill one of the promises made to your customers, it should be implemented.

Unremarkable execution. In a booming economy, it is easy to get complacent about customers. The emphasis is on acquisition and not the sum of the whole customer experience. Simply being “no worse” than your competition seems to be good enough – until the economic tides turn.

Remarkably delivering on your customer promises sets you apart from your competition. It not only makes your clients happy, but also turns them into raving fans who tell others about their experience.

As captain of your organization, you may be navigating the dangerous waters revealed by this turbulent economy, or you may still be fortunate to be sailing above the fray. Regardless, the problems mentioned above need to be addressed before you become a casualty of the “perfect storm” of recession.

Steve Vaught is a senior consultant and chief operating officer at White Rabbit Group.

nyemaster web 080123 300x250