Making it Easier

By January 14, 2009blog

My first job out of college at Harris Bank in Chicago had nice wood signs all over the place that said “The Customer Voice Drives All Actions”. I remember thinking isn’t that obvious enough that people don’t need signs to remind them of that? For me it was as funny as putting signs around the bank that said “Remember to Breath”.

Fast forward about 15 years, and now I’m thinking about how each department in a company contributes to its success and profitability. Each department impacts profitability in different ways, but they ALL ultimately center around the same point to do so. Yep, you guessed it THE CUSTOMER and the question of:

What will make it easier for more customers to WANT to do business with us?

  • What will make it easier for prospects to find us?
  • What will make it easier to learn about our product?
  • What will make it easier to choose us?
  • What will make it easier to try out our product?
  • What will make it easier to use our product?
  • What new features will make their lives easier?
  • What support will make their lives easier?
  • What pricing structure will be easier?
  • What billing process will be easier?
  • Then, we get into what will make it easier for our employees to do all this

Each department in a company contributes to profitability differently. But they ALL ultimately center around the same point: how are they making it easier for people to do business with us.

  • How is each person in marketing making it incrementally easier for people to find us?
  • How is each salesperson making it easier to choose to do business with us?
  • How is the development team adding functionality that clients REALLY want?
  • How is QA eliminating bugs that would have frustrated customers?
  • How is IT eliminating the potential for frustrating downtime?
  • How is support making it easier for customers to get answers to their questions?
  • How is billing making it easier to be billed and to pay?
  • How is legal making policies that are fair and serve our customers as much as they serve us?

I was just going through a quarterly meeting presentation that I did about 2 years ago and one of the things that stood out on it was a couple slides that outlined how our billing department identified the most frequently asked questions and confusions in our billing and then outlined how to eliminate that confusion. Billing ALSO decided to add a line to the invoice that said “If you are not completely satisfied with your service, mark down this bill as you feel is appropriate and tell us where we can improve.” We didn’t want to accept anyone’s money unless they felt they got fair value back from us AND we wanted their feedback.

As we do better in each department at taking care of our customers, it causes more prospects to become customers and more customers to become referrers… and a nice looping action takes place that organically accelerates the growth of the company. Anyone know where I can get some more of those “The Customer Voice Drives All Actions” signs?

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