By Jeri T Denniston, Chief Marketing Strategist, Denner Group International 6-8-2012
Takeaways: Not listening to customers, fewer new products, and bottom line challenges are three business warning signs your company needs an overhaul. It’s time to take action.
It’s easy to get complacent when times are good. Your business is growing. You’re attracting new customers. And the bottom line is healthy. But when times are tough, you need to take a good look at where your revenues are coming from. Too often, leaders don’t recognize the warning signs that it’s time to act decisively.
Fewer new products
This is the first sign of danger when your people are having a more difficult time coming up with new ways to make your product offerings better. Instead of major improvements, the enhancements are smaller and smaller – such as changing the design of the product packaging without changing the product itself.
One of the first business warning signs: When you stop asking your customers for their feedback, you’re starting down a dangerous path. Your customers, especially loyal ones, will be happy to tell you what they do and don’t like about your products. They’ll even offer suggestions about change they would like to see. If you aren’t listening to them and acting on what you hear, you’re missing a major life of defense. It’s easier and more cost effective to retain current customers than it is to acquire new ones.
Bottom Line challenges
When you begin to see problems in your financials or performance indicators, such as increased expenses compared to reduced revenues or higher customer complaints, it’s time to make changes. If you’re not providing added value to your customers, they’ll look elsewhere for solutions. This is another of the business warning signs.
Listen to your front line staff who deal directly with the customer and trust them to make suggestions and course corrections. Make them accountable for their actions and track results closely. It’s OK to make mistakes – that’s part of learning what works and what doesn’t. But don’t continue down the path of denial with blinders on.
You may wake up to find the competition eating your lunch!