If you have an open-book company, you probably have sales reps, marketers, operations people and everyone else on the payroll thinking like owners. They watch critical financial indicators and figure out how to make them move in the right direction.
But if there’s one thing we’ve learned in business during the past several years, it’s that the financials aren’t the only numbers owners should be watching. They help you keep costs in line, but they don’t tell you what’s happening out in the marketplace. While you’re concentrating on this quarter’s profits, tastes and technologies may be changing. Your customers may be finding better, cheaper products and services from someone else.
That’s why more and more companies are learning the Net Promoter System® (NPS) developed by Fred Reichheld and Bain & Company. NPS companies make a point of contacting their customers regularly and systematically. They score their customers’ loyalty, and they ask for comments in the customers’ own words about what they like and dislike about doing business with the company.
These scores and verbatim comments bring the customer’s voice right inside the company, so that people can take action to improve the customer experience. Veteran NPS companies take the feedback and ratings as seriously as their financial results.
Here at Open-Book Coaching, we’re helping our clients combine these two powerful
approaches to running a business. We’re calling it “customer-centric open-book
management,” because it focuses as much attention on customer concerns as on
For us, it all begins with simply calling your customers. Your own employees can do it, or our
professional staff can do it for you and report back what we learn.
- One immediate benefit is an increase in repeat and referral business. Talk to your
customers regularly and you find that you’re having some interesting conversations. They might have more work for you. They might know of others who could use your services. One of our engineering clients got 8 referrals from the first 9 calls!
- A second benefit: you learn what’s bothering customers, as well as what they really
value. Maybe they’re concerned about too many late deliveries. Or have trouble reaching your account managers. Or maybe they really value the incremental services you provide. Build on what customers value. By fixing the problems—and letting the customer know you have done so—you tell them with your actions how important they are to you. You improve their experience as well.
- Long term, the most important benefit may be that you turn your employees into real
businessmen and businesswomen. They are already watching the financials. Now
they’re learning to pay attention to customers, just as every owner must do. They’ll spot
threats and opportunities faster than ever.
If you’d like to learn more about customer-centric open-book©, please give me a call or an
email. Getting started is easy and inexpensive—I’ll tell you how to go about it free of charge, or how we can assist you in getting started faster.