Collect the Data
Every good company seems to want more. More customers, more good reviews, more efficiency and more revenue come to mind. But in order to get more, you must first prepare for more.
Recently, Callis conducted a thorough self-evaluation. A survey was sent to senior leaders and to all departments. They were asked to provide feedback on seven different metrics, ranking each from a fatal weakness through a unique competitive advantage. The categories ranged from the company’s branding, our prospecting process and sales management. After the results were tabulated and sorted, we all met to discuss the findings.
Be Honest to a Fault
Stopping after the results were tabulated would have been self-defeating. It is not enough to gather data, the real benefit comes from acting on the data with the overall health of the company in mind. The round table discussion that ensued allowed each person and each department to provide perspective on why they scored some processes or attributes higher than others.
These roundtables are not the time to become defensive or protective of your own turf. They are nothing more than a free exchange of ideas on how to improve. When differences in scoring were discovered (and there often were), each side shared examples or personal experiences to illustrate their points. No harsh words, no backlash and no arguments. Reasonable people can agree to disagree when they share a common goal.
Making Sense of the Results
This portion of the exercise is an unseen and often overlooked benefit of self-examination. If your survey leads you to pursue a specific task or goal, you must ask if you have the capacity to act on it. For instance, if you want to increase production but lack either the personnel or the budget, why waste time pursuing this goal? It may be a noble goal in the long run, but a better solution may be how you can improve in the short term. Pay attention to what you have versus what you hope to achieve.
The results of this goal-setting must be measurable and attainable. Your team has to feel that working towards improving the health of your company. The important word here is work. Rarely is a thing of value provided for free. Also, employees will be more willing to reach a milestone if they believe that their voice has been heard when setting the milestone.
The Final Step
Finally, each participant was ‘promoted’ and asked to behave as if they were a business owner somewhere in America. Who knew we joined Callis to become actors? This part of the process is crucial for service companies that exist only to satisfy the needs of their customers.
Oftentimes, businesses make decisions based on what is best for them versus what is best for their customers. Or, they make decisions based on what they think is best without taking the time to do the necessary research. Both are wrong. Keep your focus on the end-user and take steps that will make their lives easier, faster and more beneficial.
Putting It All Together
Is your business stuck in a rut? The solution may not be as elusive as you think. Rather than relying on the whim of a customer or citing factors out of your control, it may be time for a checkup. It’s relatively painless and not so hard to do. The results may lead your business in directions you never considered, and the only way to find out is to start searching from within.
And if your self-examination shows a lack of time or expertise, we at Callis are here to help. Many customers, past and present, want more but lack the capacity or the know-how. We have just completed our check-up and are proud to report that we are fit for duty. Keep your business healthy by allowing others to do what you cannot do yourself.