Operational Excellence tip: The Role of Imperfection

This short video discusses how imperfection can actually help your organization retain customers better and grow with them.

Mistakes and issues are going to happen. We’d like to avoid them, but we can’t always do that. How do you deal with those issues when you arise? Are you able to turn customer issues into revenue opportunities?

What are your keys to success?

Can you quickly rhyme off where most of your business comes from? If not, you need to think long and hard about that question. Most of my business comes through three sources:

  1. Introductions from current and past clients
  2. Introductions from colleagues and peers
  3. Marketing activities such as speaking and handing out my commercially published book

What are the top three sources for your organization’s growth? Here are some options for where growth can come from:

  • Direct introductions from current customers
  • Ambassadors/evangelists spreading the word about your organization
  • Current customers buying more from you
  • A mass marketing campaign
  • Good press from community service
  • Your brand name and profile
  • Your reputation
  • Moving into new markets
  • Launching new products and services
  • Forming alliances and partnerships

You need to choose the areas that have been most successful in the past and figure out how to replicate that success. Can you create more brand ambassadors? Can you do more community service projects? Can you move into other markets?

Where has growth come from in the past and where will it come from in the future?

Becoming an object of interest

When you are able to make yourself and your organization an object of interest, customers will come to you. It’s not just about branding and reputation, it’s about creating a buzz and providing something that people are interested in and want to be a part of. Here are some ways to become an object of interest:

  • Write a book or an article providing insights and strategies that no one else has talked about.
  • Offer an exclusive event with a high profile speaker or celebrity.
  • Take a position on an industry issue and be very vocal and public about that position and how it will improve the entire industry.
  • Provide recommendations based on data and insights that no one else has access to.
  • Gather endorsements and testimonials from well-known people and companies.

Becoming an object of interest increases profit, accelerates new customer acquisition, strengthens customer retention, and makes it easier to attract the best people.

What are you doing to become an object of interest?

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?

Miller’s Monday Morning Message

Andrew MillerMiller’s Monday Morning Message
presented by ACM Consulting Inc.

Andrew Miller on operational excellence, strategy, life balance and everything in between

Toronto – December 8, 2014
If there was ever an argument on why North America needs to become less reliant on foreign oil and focus on developing other industries, we saw it this week. Saudi Arabia slashed the price it will charge for oil in order to maintain it’s market share and the OPEC countries have refused to lower production in order to help raise prices.

So how does that decision made halfway around the world affect North America? Resource and energy company shares take a huge hit, but more importantly, the lower price will reduce the amount of income flowing into countries that sell oil, like Canada. The Governor of the Bank of Canada said these lower oil prices could reduce Canada’s growth rate by 0.3% (the latest growth rate for the country is around 3%). That is a 10% reduction in the growth rate of an entire country because of decisions made in Saudi Arabia.

Maybe it’s time to put more money and resources into developing some of the other sectors of the economy. Read more about that in one of my recent Monday Morning Messages.

Imagine your profitability eroded by 10% almost overnight because of a decision that you had no control over. Wouldn’t that prompt you to make some changes?

Listen to my podcast on why Operational Excellence needs to be redefined.
Follow me on Twitter @AndrewMillerACM
Register for my free event to dramatically increasing your profits and improve your performance.

To request an interview or more information, please contact:

Andrew Miller
© Andrew Miller. All rights reserved. 2014.


Three Kinds of Companies

There are only three kinds of companies:

  1. Those that are growing at the right pace.
  2. Those that are growing too fast.
  3. Those that are growing too slowly (or not at all).

Any other kind of company will fail. If you are not growing, you are declining. There is no such thing as the status quo because even if your organization is not changing, everything else around you is. Your competitors are changing. Your customers are changing. Your people are changing. Your industry is changing. Your government is changing.

So you need to become a company that grows at the right pace. How do you know you are growing at the right pace? You don’t make stupid mistakes. The quality of your product isn’t declining. You are able to take advantage of opportunities as they arise. You don’t feel like you are always playing catch-up.

Toyota grew too fast and it led to millions of cars being recalled because quality was sacrificed. Blockbuster grew too slowly and it became obsolete because it ignored the messages that customers were trying to deliver. Procter & Gamble continues to grow at the right speed, which is why it has had such tremendous success for such a long time.

There are four stages of growth. Once you commit to growing at the right pace you will find yourself at one of these four stages.

Four Types of Growth

Which stage are you at and what can you do to rapidly climb the stairs?

Miller’s Monday Morning Message

Andrew MillerMiller’s Monday Morning Message
presented by ACM Consulting Inc.

Andrew Miller on operational excellence, strategy, life balance and everything in between

Toronto – October 20, 2014
Growing up playing hockey, I was never the biggest or the strongest player on the ice. But once I started playing contact, I realized that I could knock almost any player over. I had a low centre of gravity and I developed a good sense of skating at the right speed, taking the right angle, and delivering the impact in the right spot.
Organizations that want to be successful need to develop a low centre of gravity. When you have a low centre of gravity you are able to knock over bigger obstacles. Those obstacles might be external (competitors, market access, government regulations), or they might be internal (unwillingness to change, bureaucracy, poor leadership). Organizations that develop that low centre of gravity do so by focusing on speed, angles, and impact.
They determine the optimal speed at which to operate. They approach from the proper angle in order to maximize the impact of what they are doing.
Does your organization have a low centre of gravity or are you standing upright, ready to be knocked over?
To request an interview or more information, please contact:
Andrew Miller

Follow me on Twitter @AndrewMillerACM
© Andrew Miller. All rights reserved. 2014.