..... • ........... ^•••••
is a consultant and advisor with Process 7hrik ng LLC, a
management consui6ng firm in New Albany and an adjunct professor at the School of Engineering
Technology at Eastern. Michigan University Contact him at tirri@processthinkfng. corn.
is the Director of Strategic Accounts for GPAgied
an international maintenance and ratabilityconsulting and training firm.
Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Four small things with big effects
BY TIMOTHY R. WEILBAKER AND CHRIS COLSON A small thing, but the improved satis-
faction can be mighty big.
Competition for your goods or services is fiercer now 3MAL1THING NO. 2: SUPPI'
than ever before. Never in the history of commerce have 'OUR SUPPORT STAFF
consumers had more choices of how or where to spend Examples of Small Thing No. 2
abound, but the most frequent occur-
their money. Consequently, with all due respect to Rich- rence that we see is when businesses
ard Carlson and his best-selling Don't Sweat the Small fail to place enough importance on
Stuffapproach, we believe that the small stuff is exactly some of the functions that are often
labeled nonproductive or nonessential
what businesses must sweat in order to succeed. back-office tasks.
As a result, secretaries, assistants and
SMALLTHING NO. 1: GOING DIGITAL practice that has found a better way: the like seem to be the first positions to
When you visit Family Allergy and be eliminated when economic times get
If you are not using digital means to Asthma in New Albany, there are no
acquire data, you are losing customer tough.
paper forms to waste your time. You Until we are faced with the fact that
loyalty and operational efficiency.
When was the last time you visited have provided your information via this work is. indeed, essential and that
a medical professional for services? computer before your office visit and we will have to expend even more mon-
Remember the forms you were asked — the hest part of this experience — ey and time to accomplish it through
to complete? Four, five, maybe six you enter the data only one timel other means, we seldom realize how
different forms. And the "best" part? Not only do you spend less time com- important these roles are.
Some 25 percent of the same ques- pleting forms but you spend less time end that's not to mention the effect on
tions are asked on each one and you in the office when you arrive. And, of your business if a customer is negative-
must answer over and over again. course, there is a noticeable improve- ly impacted by those cost reductions.
ropy and paste is one technology that ment in the practice's internal operat- "Five-dollar savings" too often become
even Apple does not make available via ing efficiency since it no longer must pricey expenses Penny wise is, indeed,
pen and pencil.) transfer all of your data from paper to pound foolish.
Weave come across one local health computer.
32 Business Soinc,
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, 7 "r7,
!Ia.. 3: KErnIrr TH7 ('1.'.77010ER SrliSFIED SMALLTHING NO. 4:TREATING INDIVIDLI
These days, anything less than instant gratification equals
instant loss flimsiness. With nearly infinite choices on the One service company we know often tried to squeeze po-
market and, for that matter, choices of market, what sets tential clients into a fixed "mold," offering the same services,
your business apart is your ability to retain even the smallest delivering those services hi the same manner and ignoring
of competitive advantages. the desire of the potential client to be viewed as a unique
For example, you go to the store for an item. Your expecta- individual with unique needs.
tion is that the store will have the item and you will purchase For companies to be successful they need to listen first and
it and continue on your day's schedule. then be flexible enough to customize a path to their custom-
What happens if that store (the longtime receiver of your ers' uniqueness. The service company we just mentioned ad-
loyalty) does not have your item in stock? opted this strategy and saw responses improve dramatically
In the past, consumers would merely wait for the item to Key thought to ponder. Each of us (as an individual and as
be delivered in a day or two. Today, however, there are many an organizational consumer) wants to believe that we are
other options. If your usual store does not have what you unique even if we do have similarities to others.
want; you will seek a competitor who might and you will Yes, we know there are more than four small things to be re-
even pay more money if necessary in order to satisfy your membered by businesses today, but the psychosocial experts
need. proved some time ago that we humans remember only a
Your expectation of acquiring the item today would be held small list of items. That you remember what we have written
against the first store. is one small thing these two columnists are sweating!
You might think, They should have known that I might Modifying the real estate industry's location, location,
need the item. They should carry something like this item — location" directive to suit our own selfish needs, the answer
everyone needs this item periodically." to business success is 'details, details, details.' Stop focusing
The lesson to be learned: Modern customer loyalty is great- on only the major-value features of your goods or services.
ly determined by a business' ability to fulfill that customer's Sweat the small stuff and begin the journey to success.
expectations of instant gratification.
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