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Every business can benefit from conscious action and getting better at what they do. Where do you find a direct source of insight?

Have you ever noticed the features of businesses that are often celebrated as successes in certain areas, like the best company to work for or the fastest growing company? These companies come from many different industries, operate in many different markets, use many different business models, and they can be small or large. But there is one thing they all have in common.

They take conscious action to plan, to be prepared and to get better at what they do. More importantly, they know fires happen, so they plan ahead and take precautions. They don’t wait until it is too late to do something about the situation. The time and effort they invest on a regular basis to reflect objectively on what they are doing allows them to take action before complex problems start to really impact the bottom line.

“Running a business is like driving a car. Focus is important but don’t forget to check your blind spots.” ~Robert Hubbs

The signs are there. If you see them but do not act on them, then you are essentially asking your competitors to step in and your customers to look elsewhere. If you do not even look for them, then you are doomed. If you are not looking for problems, who is?

Why You Want More of Your Customers to Complain

Most customers will not take the time to call you and give you their honest feedback about what you are doing right or wrong. Most businesses don’t bother to listen to the few customers who do make the effort to call. Why is that? Probably because the customer service employees who take those calls do not have the ear of the people who can actually create the change that is required.

Why would a business cut itself off from a direct source of insight—the pure truth about you from your customers’ perspective? Maybe because they do not think it is important. Maybe because they think there are too few people having problems to make it worth doing anything. If you think that, you have a reality leak.

The truth is that 94% of dissatisfied customers never complain. If your customer does complain and you listen to the problem, recognize it and take steps to address it, the customer will stay. Even if you can’t completely fix the problem, the vast majority of those customers, even 90%, go on to become long¬term customers. Depending on your industry, they typically stay 200 to 300% longer than the average customer. Often, they do an above-average amount of business as well. Business is improved a lot with this method. Did you catch that? Do you see how important it is to listen to your customers?

Do you see now why you have to change the way you think about improving your business? You need to look where most people are afraid to look. You need to see what you have never seen before, and what you might be afraid to see. You need to see what you don’t do well and use root-cause analysis to pinpoint the problem so your business can become better in that area.

In most cases, the leaking money in your business cannot be fixed from inside the business—you are already too busy running the business. Plus, when you are very close to a problem, it is much more difficult to see. You are best served by having an expert come in to quickly and easily identify the money leaking out of your business.

In the next series of posts we will review the steps that need to be taken to generate profits and growth.

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