Think about this. Its simple, and true.
Based on the kind of experience that consumers have with a company selling products/ services to them, these consumers will categorise that company as one of:
Category 1 – A company they love. They willingly visit and purchase from the company’s product mix, over and over.
Category 2 – A company they are fairly indifferent about. They purchase from these kind of companies without much inner emotive rumblings, whether positive or negative..
Category 3 – A company they detest. At every opportunity, customers will deliberately avoid the offerings of these companies. Customers pull their hair out over these companies’ failures.
Can your company answer two related questions here, and would your leadership understand the dangers of the answers it may unearth?
- “In which category do your customers see your company?”, and
- “Does your company know what its customers would answer here?”
Listen up, companies in category 3. Your customers are not real customers. They are not even close to being customers. Real customers want to support your business. Instead, people who detest your company are your detractors, AND they are highly efficient broadcasters of your slack company and its failings. For one thing, the age of social media makes that broadcast possible, making both customers and detractors powerful.
Whether intended or not, all companies – of all sizes – are owners of brand. Some companies become big well-known brands because they get their business alignment right, and with heavy primary focus on a great relationship with their target market consumers.
However, other companies fade away and never became brand-of-choice because they fail somewhere, and sometimes miserably, in the roll-out of their strategy. Their churn of clients is high, and that is a very expensive way of maintaining a client base. These companies have poor brand.
There is an irony here. Detractors who are pulling their hair out over a company’s failures are simultaneously a hidden gift to that company. Acknowledged speedily, these people are early warning indicators. They are fundamental opportunities to pull things right in the company, but that window of opportunity to improve is narrow and can be fleeting. Complaining customers and detractors are letting the company know that it is not aligned. They are telling the business that its strategy is wrong, and that the distributions to, and engagement of, its clients are also wrong. It is also highly likely that the processes and agility of this kind of business are poor.
Further listen up … category 2 companies who are potentially shifting towards becoming category 3. Companies that start getting it wrong for a protracted time will ultimately face a growing army of detractors (unhappy ex-clients). These companies require a new strategy. Unfortunately, this can require brand re-development to shift away from the failed brand. Hand-in-hand comes product re-development, process re-engineering and very often new staff. Employees don’t often stick around waiting for happy days to return when all they have for job-satisfaction is the constant wrath of clients. Cost escalation in a business correcting its failing business model is way better than potential profit obliteration in a company refusing to improve.
The simple truth here is: if your company is not in category 1 above, your company has issues with its business alignment. In some companies a growth or shrinkage phase can drive unforeseen misalignment, in others it could be symptoms arising out of merger activities, and in other companies it could dangerously be the result of apathy.
Shifting to become a category 1 company listed above will require a strategy underpinned by alignment in culture, operations, processes, supply & demand chains management, marketing and customer engagement.
Is it time to review how your company meets these business alignment criteria?
Contact us if you would like to know more about how we can assist your company to accurate business alignment and better profitability
Invite us to an open discussion with your executive and management team.
In under one hour we’ll provide insights that your company will find extremely valuable.
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