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The Danger of Unintended Consequences

I was talking to one of my best buddies, Stan, the other day.  He was telling me about a large national supplier whose internal measuring systems are getting in the way of how they provide customer service.  This is a product that is easily accessible in any Wal-Mart, Best Buy, or office supply store.  There are numerous suppliers of this product.

Imagine having internal controls for quality that require a ceiling for the number of rejects accepted back to your company per unit of time each month.  What your company does is allow only a specific number of rejects to be returned, say two percent of your monthly order.  Therefore, if I am buying widgets from your company and I buy 100 widgets each month to sell to my customers, I am only allowed to send two non functioning widgets back to your company each month.

In a month that I get three returns because my customers say that the widgets did not work, I then have to keep the third widget in my inventory.  I can then send it back the following month, as long as I only have two failed widgets.  If I sell widgets that come back as defective in any month that exceeds two, I will have to store defective widgets.

What do I do?  I can choose to order more widgets so that I can return more widgets per month.  I can find a storage space to store defective widgets.  I can find a way to repair defective widgets.  I can find another supplier to supply me with widgets.  The obvious answer is find a  supplier that will supply me a better return policy for failed widgets.  It would even be better to find a supplier who provided me only good widgets.

So you might be asking, “Why bring this up?”  The simple answer is, “We need to have our internal measurement and management systems always extend through the needs of our customers.”  Few of us, if any, are the only show in town. In previous articles I have focused on comparing collaboration to competition, I make the point about joining your competitor to understand where you can serve similar markets differently.  If you want to isolate yourself on an island all by yourself, find ways of driving your customers to your competitors by serving your own needs before their needs.

Now you may be saying, “Gerry, this is so obvious that I know I am avoiding this behavior.” But, there are  other areas to consider regarding the danger of unintended consequences:

  • Is your holiday schedule conflicting with your ability to supply your clients?
  • Are your communication tools doing their intended job?
  • Have you addressed the social media policy for your company’s image/protection?
  • What is the image projected by your passive marketing tools (website, brochures, business cards) and is it intentional?
  • Understand where your image starts and stops.
  • Are all your “representatives” trained in the area of customer service?
  • Are your internal operations customers serving each other?  What are the expected outcomes versus the actual outcomes?
  • What is the cross reference/support between your company and its suppliers?
  • If you are a supplier to different regions of the country/world, have you considered cultural differences?

Each of the above can consume volumes of company policy which will have an impact on your customers.  Each should be addressed, depending the size of your company and the scope of its impact.  A policy should be written that is equal in size to your company and the magnitude of the impact it will have on your customers.  It needs to be reviewed on a regular basis so that it reflects the inner effects on the workings of your company and the external effect it has on your customers.

Consequences are real.  They impact how we do business and with whom we do business.   All the above are measurable and manageable.  For more examples and to answer any questions, please see our contact information below.

 

Gerry Rose runs INTEGRITY Networking Solutions in Oceanside, CA.  He works with people in business who want to attract the right prospects and generate more referrals.  More than 10,000 businesses have been presented the INTEGRITY Networking Solutions system in San Diego, Los Angeles, Riverside, and Orange Counties.

Gerry’s stimulating presentation Unlimited Prospects, Unlimited Referrals is ideally suited for small business owners, home-based businesses, and independent professionals who want clearer direction and want to attract more prospects, develop dynamic systems, and strengthen their companies’ accountability.  Gerry does one on one consulting, conducts a range of keynote speeches from thirty minutes to full-day education workshops.  His book series, Unlimited Prospects, Unlimited Referrals, are available on the website, www.integritysd.com.

Gerry has more than 20 years’ experience directing business owners how to grow their businesses.  He is a networking dynamo.  Those who know him will assure you that he does a great job of bringing people together—which is why he started INTEGRITY.

Involved with networking organizations since 1984, Gerry is a Distinguished Toastmaster, a member of Toastmaster International, and has chaired numerous chambers of commerce and non-profit organizations.

Are you truly committed to attracting the right prospects and generate more referrals?  If so then contact INTEGRITY Networking Solutions for availability and information, call (888) 584-7073.  You can contact Gerry by mail at 2103 Wedgewood Drive, Oceanside, CA 92056.  Direct dial (760) 439-4623; e-mail togerry@integritysd.com.  For more information, go to www.integritysd.com

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