Three reasons why your transformation efforts may fall short.
Does it feel like days are too short, and there is no time to do everything we want to do? For a large number of business leaders, this is indeed their experience. They know they need to transform their organisation and are willing to take steps to get closer to their customers. But the more they do, the longer the to-do list becomes.
We live in times of constant improvement and transformation efforts. Few people deny their organisations have a lot of work to do to be ahead of the rest or to play catch up regarding accelerating their reaction times, improving their customer experience, or reducing transaction and overall costs.
The harder they try the further they fall behind. Forrester published recently a report that confirms customers are lowering the overall scores when they are asked to rate their experiences with companies. Some companies improved their results against last year´s, but the overwhelming majority did not.
If we look at the key factors of customer relevance (being important to your customer, flexible to their needs and trustworthy to work closer together), customer expectations are moving faster than companies. Organisations are running, but not fast enough. Customers are talking loud and clear.
So, if anybody is wondering what impact this has on loyalty, the answer is it has a huge one. Brand loyalty has been replaced by positive experience loyalty. Things like excellent service; I feel understood, I feel you can help me with my challenges, you really impressed me there. Those experiences are what drives loyalty today.
If your company is experiencing you cannot cope with the pace of expectation change, you are not alone. If your transformation efforts seem to be bringing you backwards, instead of forward you may be suffering from one or more of the top three challenges companies face when trying to transform. These are:
- Leadership style makes things go slowly, too slowly.
Yes, there are plenty of things we want to do, but decision making is still slow and central. For anything to go ahead, or before we accept any changes, the same person always needs to be involved. You treat information as the privilege of a few, and it normally flows upward, but not downward. You do not trust people with information and only share what´s necessary. You treat partners as external companies and share as little as possible to ensure they do not learn too much about how you do things, and you keep them far from your customers to ensure they do not try to steal them from you or say something inappropriate.
All those things make you feel in control, and they have always been part of your leadership style. They also slow you down, and they are not free. Not when customers demand more and faster.
- You are not updating your business model.
You know your model is not as robust as it used to be. For some time, you have been hearing people talk about new ways of doing things which are more aligned with customers’ behaviour and preferences. You do not deny these people have a point, but when you look at your P&L, you do not see it happening, too much risk, too big a drop in our revenues if we switch just like that. This is not what your target for growth says, you are committed to hitting that target, and nothing will stand between your determination and the target figure. It is logical, sensitive and probably noble, but your business model, like all models, has an expiration date.
- Lack of trust in your people´s ability to work differently.
You want to try new things and are very receptive to the use of analytics and new technologies that could make a massive difference to how you operate. However, when it comes to making things happen, you feel you are on your own, or just surrounded by a limited number of colleagues who get it and can help you. You think the majority will not make it and some do not even care. You know you cannot do things differently with them and, yet, you need them to carry on with the business as it is today. Finding new talent is hard, losing people is ugly, better stick to what you have and what you do.
Any of these three aspects will severely impact your ability to transform and to be relevant to customers. Are any of them part of your reality? Stay Relevant helps organisations to tackle these issues and enjoy a new business speed and better results.