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Monday, August 3, 2009

Short Term Planning Can Kill Service

The unintended results of short term planning? As it relates to Customer Service? In the “macro” view, it is almost always disastrous in this context. Giving good service requires CONSTANT attention and emphasis to the topic of customer service. When companies think in the short term, customer service gets short shrift. It’s not part of the company’s culture—it’s a mere afterthought or platitude.

Want a specific? Let’s talk about product availability in the grocery business. Short term thinking (prevalent in larger, publicly traded companies) demands strict attention to keeping inventory levels at the lowest possible level—especially when that dreaded quarterly inventory comes around. So pressure is brought to bear on Store Managers and Department Heads to lower inventory to levels that will cause excessive (and maddening) out of stock conditions.

The short term result FOR THE COMPANY? Because inventory levels are temporarily low, profits look good. Shareholders are happy (for now).

The short term result FOR THE CUSTOMER? He/she must go to another store to find the product(s). He/ she is probably angry. He/ she is likely to buy more than that one product at the new store. And, since the new store HAD the product, he/ she is more likely to switch his/ her shopping pattern.

The long term result for the company? Likely a loss of a CURRENT customer. Since, to quote Dick Schaaf, “The best customer is the one you already have,” short term thinking and planning and policy are anathema to Customer Service. And very damaging to the long term BOTTOM LINE as well! And that will lead, in the long term, to dissatisfied shareholders.

What Did My Clients Say?

Very worthwhile…highly recommended to anyone who values customers.” -Julian Peebles, Ruth Lilly Health Education Center

“Thanks again for the wonderful presentation. It was exciting that our employees were fired up and began to think forward and place themselves mentally into some of the situations they may encounter at Victory Field.” -Randy Lewandowski, Assistant General Manager Indianapolis Indians

“…the overall attitude of our management team is much more positive…and the team is much more aggressive in tending to clients ‘and guests’ needs.” -Chuck Lazarra, President, Ritz Charles

“Danny is an excellent presenter who understands the benefit of high quality customer service. He relayed heartfelt stories that translated to our business and reinforced the impact that each of us has on customer service and its effect on our success.” -Doug Ruggles, Corporate Training Director, F.A. Wilhelm Construction Co., Inc.

“Your talk was very insightful and right on point. It also was entertaining and a lot of fun. The points you made were simple but highly effective. Your expertise in the area of customer service was obvious.” -Chad Wilke, Senior Event Coordinator, Indiana Convention and Visitors’ Bureau

“Danny is a delight—so full of energy—you feel inspired after spending just a few minutes with him. And there were several great pearls that I walked away with.” -Pam Bales, Consultant, Benefit Associates

“We have worked with many consultants over the years, but none more energetic than Danny. He worked diligently with us beforehand to model the program to our specific needs… From the President to the newest supervisor, we are all excited to begin implementing what we learned tomorrow morning! …..” -Rick Roberts, Vice President, Engledow Group

“I am also conducting the first Team Leader Training Class tomorrow. With a little help from the Danny O Experience I think it will be a hit! Thanks for being such a great motivator!” -Michelle Nichols, Corporate Trainer, Ossip Optometry

"I know some of you have brought in speakers in the past to inspire your staff. As you probably know, I’m difficult to impress. Well, Danny impressed me. For one thing, he’s one of you and not just another speaker. He made me wish I was working back in the stores. And for you wholesalers, he’s would be a great motivator for speaking to your independents. He got huge applause from the WGA retailers. I definitely see you having some quick payback having him speak." -Dave Livingston, DJL Research, LLC