When a salesperson tells you they will deliver “on time,” how much confidence does that give you in your buying decision? Do you know what that really means? Do you sell that way also? Sometimes when you can prove that you have had a high on time delivery rate in the past, it may minimize risk for the buyer. Sometimes, not so much.
We have come to learn from our research and client experiences, that many companies keep KPIs that are broad in scope limiting their value in both sales and operational excellence. Recently we learned, for example, that a customer base for a manufacturer of large systems was much more interested in on time delivery of replacement parts than of the systems themselves. Another company learned that on time delivery of documentation was more important than the response rate to RFPs. Yet in both instances, guess what their internal KPIs tracked – the one that was valued less and not the one valued most.
On Time is simply a category of many elements that matter to a buyer and has many different definitions to distinct customers. Is it on time when:
- it hits the delivery truck?
- it arrives at your customer’s dock?
- it is taken off the truck and received?
Or, is it not measured at all?
For a service business, is it on time, for example, when the work process begins, ends, is reviewed, or is audited? Your customers’ perspective should dictate what gets top attention.
So many companies claim to have great customer service, and track it as part of their KPIs. Usually the metric is simply from a satisfaction survey, NPS or Yelp rating. What does that mean? As stated, nothing at all. It is broad and it is subjective. My idea of great customer service may be light years away from your view of it. Customer Service is a category that covers many things: support after sale, first call resolution, onsite visits, timely response, return policy, accuracy, phone support, single point of contact, after hours availability, etc. Research has shown that certain buyers value one or two over all others on such a list. Are you measuring and touting the right ones? Or broadly claiming “great customer service?”
The list differs for each company/industry. What is your list? Which elements of customer service matter most to your customers and are you tracking those specifically? Many organizations are tracking metrics that do not matter to their customer. Our research has shown that about 85% are not measuring those that do make a difference in buying decisions.
Operational excellence requires that you keep up to date metrics on the most valued of deliverables to your customers. If you should learn accuracy is ranked highest to your customers, how well are you doing with it? If you learn your accuracy has been poor, then operationally this should be a top strategic improvement objective. Teams should be held accountable for keeping it at a high level of performance.
Find out what is “key” to your customers when they are making a buying decision. Do not guess: 90% of business guessed wrong when asked to rate their own customer’s top values. Find the top values, Measure them and improve them operationally. The good news is research shows that a company need only focus on a handful of valued deliverables to ensure having the tie breaker in sales encounters.
Build Confidence, Reduce Risk to Minimize Price as an Issue