What’s the biggest problem you face in your business, right now?
The answers you gave indicated there is a real desire to create a long lasting, high value relationship with your customers and continued disconnects within your own company to execute as a unified team.
Sixty percent of you were interested in learning more about how to create a rock-solid pre-implementation plan. This is a great sign, because it means you know that preparation + practice makes for an excellent customer experience!
Because it’s not sexy and slick, we often overlook the operational details in a technology-centric rollout, focus on the technology instead of the culture, and often get frustrated by the seemingly petty details of an implementation.
In his recent book, FLIP (Amazon store link), Peter Sheahan makes the point time and again that you must sweat the small stuff — especially in today’s market. But does sweating the small stuff mean that it has to be complicated?
I have spent a lot of time working on many different projects, and the one thing I found is that most small and medium sized businesses (SMBs) don’t want or need the formal project and change management practices of the larger enterprises.
As one of the key steps in the PROACTIVE system for making managing projects and making change easier, step one centers on how you can create a rock-solid pre-implementation plan and take action without the headaches. The six steps can be easily remembered using the acronym ACTION:
- Asset Specification & Order Processing: Your customer has bought what you were selling, so it’s critical you get the order right! Your customer wants you to make it easy for them, so don’t let your order process make a fool of you.
- Contract Setup & Financing: When you put legal contracts in front of your customer, it’s like you just turned from professing your undying love and desire to marry your true love to asking him/her to ensure plan for the eventuality of a divorce! The trust you’ve earned during the relationship building process is on your side, but their hard-earned trust is put to the test from this point on. Remember, now you are dealing with their money; be sure to make it easy for them to spend it with you because of their trust in your company’s services.
- Team Meeting: I am an huge believer in the internal team meeting — to get everyone on the same page. I have a very specific agenda I’ve found that works in these meetings, which creates a highly effective meeting and wastes as little time as possible to get everyone out of the gates and working on your customer’s implementation.
- Inspect the Site(s) & Survey the Customer: Having an effective on-site survey is often thought to be too complex. One of the keys to success is in surveying the customer. This process is a quality check to ensure everything lines up. Your customers find this extremely professional, you avoid costly shipment errors and on-site delays, and everyone has a smile on their face in the end!
- Operational Review: In the world of construction, a ‘punch list’ is used to identify gaps between what is currently built-out and what should be built. The Operational Review helps you, your team and the customer’s team begin the project with the same perspective – and on equal footing.
- Next Step: Be sure to always clearly identify the next step (or steps) as you move to begin your implementation. No one should be left in the dark as to what their role is in the project or what is expected of them.
In just another week, I’ll be presenting the entire process in Orlando, Florida. Be sure to Register today for an exclusive action packed day!
PS - If you can’t make it, or simply want more information on this topic, I’ll make it easy for you: simply fill in your contact information below (or click this link); I’ll be sure to send you more information personally.