Since the start of the December 2007 recession, as declared by the National Bureau of Economic Research, companies have had to reduce expenses, due to falling revenues. Strategies included – reduce staff, consolidate locations, scrap projects…
A strategy that worked for me in the past was a review of contracts outstanding to understand if the items promised in the agreements were being fulfilled. As a result of this review, 42 non-active strategic relationships were terminated for a monthly savings of $63,000; and a contract was terminated with a data vendor that was not providing what was promised, for a one time savings of $37,000.
Cost cutting is getting more difficult. The risk of cutting costs at the expense of quality becomes greater. As such, I recommend that prior to any cost cutting action, the opinions/views of your customers are considered. Studies should be conducted to understand –
- Satisfaction – overall, product, customer service
- Brand perception
- Pricing strategies
- Timeliness of delivery
- Policies for returns and exchanges
- New products and services
Research methods that could be utilized include –
- Post Purchase surveys are great ways to quickly gain immediate customer feedback, i.e. within 30 days of sale/service.
- Contact surveys are great ways to quickly gain immediate customer feedback, i.e. within 30 days of the last contact to your customer service or help desk. The reason for the contact is also great information.
- Focus groups are an excellent way to collect customer information on current products/services provided, as well as future concepts for consideration.
There are many different study types. But based on the aforementioned studies you should understand what your customers value vs., what they do not consider important; understand if the customer is willing to recommend; and request Testimonials that you can use to capture new customers.
So what is the process –
- Write the questions
- Pilot the questionnaire to ensure that the results you are getting, answer your needs
- Distribute to the full population
- Tabulate the results and analyze
- Use the data for process improvement and product development
What is your experience?© Copyright 2012 Regis Quirin, All rights Reserved. Written For: CFO Tips - What you need to know, to be a CFO TODAY!