Somerset Accountant On: Two Smart Businesses I Thought You Should Examine
February 8, 2012
Now that we’re in February, how are you doing with those resolutions and goals you set a couple weeks back?
Well, I’m right there with you — this week, I’m re-committing to some of the actions I need to take to get back to where I planned to be!One of the things I wanted to do was pay closer attention to well-run companies. There’s that old saw: “Don’t work hard, work smart!” To me, working “smart” can still be a big waste of time — I’d rather do it right, follow a model, and not have to really even *be* that smart! So, here’s a few things you can model in your business. Let me know what you think… Two Really Smart Companies Somerset Area Businesses Should Model
Let’s talk about a few truly excellent companies I’ve recently read about or personally encountered–who get that their “widget” or service isn’t actually the most important part of what they do. It’s their client relationships. For example:Federal Express. My firm has used them from time-to-time to deliver time-sensitive materials and to pick up documents.
Further, I know of a client who even had FedEx pick up a check from Continental Airlines because Continental couldn’t move the check overnight –but FedEx would. In my experience, they hardly ever “miss”. They really do deliver absolutely, positively overnight. But even more importantly, FedEx places a priority on its relationships with its customers. For example, FedEx sends new information, literature, brochures etc. to its customers frequently. And FedEx employees — those who pick up and deliver and those in the offices — are simply great. They are friendly, courteous, helpful, they listen and don’t interrupt, they react calmly to even bizarre problems and questions, and they sell FedEx.
The driver who occasionally comes to our office often passes on some new piece of information about FedEx’s statistics, new services or products or expansion. This kind of service does not happen by accident. Company #2: Omaha Steaks. What an incredible company this is! Omaha Steaks sells food by mail order including the best corn-fed beef you’ll ever eat. Frankly, their products are expensive but the product quality warrants the price.
However, the steps beyond product quality are what make this company a superior performer. Here’s just one example of the obvious value and importance they place on the customer. I have a client who would call Omaha often during the year and send different assortments of their products to valued clients as thank you gifts. Last year, shortly before Christmas, this client received in the mail from Omaha a list of all the people they had sent gifts to during the year, what they had sent them, when they sent it and what they had spent. If they wanted to send the same gifts again to the same person it was as easy as checking off a box and returning the form.
This is a prime example of a brilliant marketing strategy that is also a true service to the customer. And that’s the real key idea — “How can you market your products or services–and at the same time provide a meaningful service to the customer?”