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In This Issue
Stop Chasing Customer Needs

Andrew's Idea Application Absolutes (Part 2)

In The News
Click here to order my new book, Redefining Operational Excellence, that will be released by AMACOM in June.

Click here to download my new audio book, Customer Retention on the Front Lines.

Click here to find out about my new service that helps organizations create new revenue streams, increase profitability, and boost performance.

Upcoming Events
I am hosting a new teleconference series, How to Transform Healthcare Through Operational Excellence. Click here to register and for more details.

I will be speaking at the Canadian College of Healthcare Leaders annual conference in Banff in June. Click here for more details.

Volume 55, April 2014
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Andrew Miller

The monthly electronic newsletter presented by Andrew Miller.

My newsletter focuses on providing ways to generate dramatic ideas and quickly optimize the speed, and improve the performance and profitability of your organization.

Stop Chasing Customer Needs, Create Them

It's time to stop performing customer satisfaction surveys and customer focus groups. It's time to stop mining through millions of data points to find out how customers buy and it's time to stop watching facial recognition videos to see how people act in your store.

It's time to stop asking what your customers need and it's time to create that need for them. That's what innovative companies do.

Asking a customer, "Did you find everything you need today" at the checkout counter is too late. What will you do if the answer is "No"? Asking a customer to fill out a survey a week after they left your store is too late. If they score you low on the survey, what will you do about it?

All of our normal strategies around customer service don't create loyalty. They don't create ambassadors. They create piles of information that can rarely be used to improve performance.

The customer experience is about how it begins and how it ends, and it's not rocket science. When do customers buy more, when they wander into a store and are ignored or can't find someone to help them, or when someone smiles and asks, "What can I do for you today?"

Are customers more likely to tell people to come to your store if they have to wait in line to pay, or can pay right in the store aisle with the employee who helped them?

The most successful and innovative companies determine their goals (let's say increased average customer sale) and develop new ways to accomplish them.

Are you doing that, or simply reacting to answers your customers give to the same old questions?

For more insights on customer retention, click here to download my free audio book called, Customer Retention on the Front Lines.


How To Accelerate the Application of New Ideas (Part 2)

In last month's newsletter I provided you with five questions to consider before you implement a new idea. This month you are going to give yourself a little test. Take a moment and assess in which of the four quadrants your organization falls in the figure below. Do you have low or high quality ideas? Do you have a poor or strong ability to implement and execute those ideas?

Now that you have done that, I will tell you that when I do this with groups in my workshops and speeches, most organizations fall on the left side of the figure. They either have low or high quality of ideas and their ability to implement and execute on those ideas is poor. So why are so many companies poor at implementing new ideas?

When I work with companies like yours, there are some keys to application that will help move you into the top right quadrant (or further to the right if you are already there):

  • Alignment - Does the idea/initiative align with the direction that the organization is going?
  • Impact - What impact would the idea/initiative have for the organization?
  • Tactics - What needs to be done to achieve that impact?
  • Capability - Does the organization have the capability to implement the idea/initiative successfully? (time, right resources, right focus)
  • Accountability - Who should be accountable for achieving the results and how will success be measured?

Too many organizations don't factor in all of these criteria and move forward with ideas that are missing one or more of them, thus setting them on a difficult path to success.

You may notice that these keys to application are very similar to the questions we discussed last month. That's how important they are.

In which quadrant does your organization fall?

Please contact me if you would like to discuss how we can make improvements in your organization, regardless of where you are on the chart.

Please note that we grow our business through referrals and would never be too busy to speak with a friend, family member, acquaintance or colleague if you think we could be of assistance.

Please contact Andrew Miller at 416-480-1336 or visit our website at

Please feel free to forward this newsletter to anyone to whom it might be of value.

© Andrew Miller. All rights reserved. 2014.