Operational Excellence tip: Redefining Operational Excellence

Do you focus on growth or cost-cutting? Do you measure customer satisfaction or customer retention? Do you eliminate waste or do you drive innovation?

This short weekly video gives you some practical ways to redefine operational excellence in order to maximize the profitability and performance of your organization.

I welcome your comments if you would like to discuss any of these concepts further.

Purposeful customer retention reduction

Organizations should always be focusing on customer retention because it is the fastest way to accelerate growth. Your existing customers already know your organization and what you offer, so it is easy to offer them new products and services as well as help them become ambassadors to help you attract new customers. But how much effort are you putting into retaining customers you don’t want? My guess is, too much.

This means you are taking time and effort away from retaining the customers you do want.

Maximizing overall customer retention is not always good. Not all customers are good customers and not all business is good business. It’s only effective if you are retaining the customers you want. I call this concept purposeful customer retention reduction. This is the act of NOT retaining certain customers because they are not your ideal customers. They take time and resources away from your ideal customers so you let them go. Yes, that’s right, you let them go.

Review the chart below and ask yourself (be honest) in which quadrant your organization fits. Do you have deliberate retention efforts focused on your ideal customers (top right quadrant)? If not, you are losing growth opportunities and wasting time. You are putting resources into retaining customers you don’t want, while the ones you do want are walking down the street right in front of you (figuratively speaking).

Purposeful retention reduction

But have no fear, if you are anywhere but in the top right quadrant, you can get there quickly by answering these questions:

  • Who are our ideal customers?
  • What value do we offer them?
  • What deliberate strategies do we need to employ to attract and retain them?

To what extent are you inadvertently losing important customers while retaining unimportant customers?

Why Successful Companies Fail

When you think of companies like Nortel, Enron, Blackberry, and Blockbuster, companies that were having tremendous success and then failed, there are only a few reasons why the sudden decline.

  • Arrogance and/or stubbornness – The organization and its leaders believed that continuing to operate the same way would lead to continued success. They refused to change the way they operated.
  • Inability to take advantage of new opportunities – The organization was either unable to see new opportunities or not flexible enough to take advantage of them.
  • Increased distance from customers – The organization created too wide a gap between itself and its customers and wasn’t able to anticipate what customers wanted or needed.
  • Misalignment of strategy and tactics – The tactics being performed on the front lines of the organization did not align with the strategy being developed in the executive boardroom.
  • Greed – The organization’s leaders focused too much on creating money and power for themselves and not enough on creating value for customers.

Just avoid these five things and you will see continued success in your organization and operational excellence will come naturally.

Why can’t hotel check-in be like airline check-in?

A recent article in the Globe and Mail discussed how some hotel chains are beginning to use apps and kiosks to check guests in, so those guests can bypass the front desk.

Here are some musings on that idea:

  • Airlines are already doing this by allowing passengers to check-in online the day before their flight and use electronic boarding passes, so the technology already exists. The unknown factor is whether guests want to bypass the front desk.
  • Disney Hotels uses floating staff with iPads to check guests in, thus providing a person to speak with, but avoiding check in lines. They actually check you in while you are unloading your baggage so there is virtually no waiting from the time you arrive at the hotel to the time you have your key.
  • Hotels want to be careful about how hard they push this idea out to customers as checking in at the front desk provides them an opportunity to engage with their guests. If they lose that opportunity, they will need to find a different way of engaging. Maybe a quick phone call or visit 30 minutes after the guest arrives.
  • Offering a choice lets the guest decide, so it doesn’t mean removing the front desk altogether.
  • The online check-in or kiosk would seem to be attractive to business travelers or guests arriving late who just want to get to their room and don’t need the live interaction when they check-in.
  • Like any other technology option, success will be in how it is rolled out and executed, not the technology itself.

Organizational growth

On a recent teleconference for executives, I discussed 12 strategies that organizations can implement to rapidly grow their bottom line. Below is a tool that you can download for free and use to identify which strategies are best for your organization.

Andrew Miller-Organizational growth assessment

If you are interested in downloading or listening to the free teleconference, click here.

Association growth

On a recent teleconference for association executives, I discussed 12 strategies associations can implement to rapidly grow their membership base. Below is a tool that you can download for free and use to identify which strategies are best for your association.

Andrew Miller-Association growth assessment

If you are interested in downloading or listening to the free teleconference, click here.