There are many approaches you can take to create a strategic plan. You may elect to focus on your ultimate business goals, or past experience; or you can base your plan on a SWOT analysis of strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats.
An alternative option is to focus on your customer. The core premise of this approach is to consistently delight your customer, and in so doing, generate sales and revenue to sustain your business and fulfill your mission.
As an exercise in innovative thinking, consider creating a strategic plan with the singular goal of creating customer “Wow!”
Who is your customer? What will “Wow!” them? Different groups have different needs and wants, beyond your basic service or product. Some are interested in personal service, or efficiency, or value. Others are interested in glamour, exclusivity, social service, convenience or dozens of other emotional triggers. “Wow!” attract customers, and “Wow!” builds sales.
- Profile your targeted customer. Define their “Wow!” that is, the support or affirmation you can provide that will set you and your business apart from the competition.
- Now step back for an honest look. Does your “Wow!” really set you apart from your competitors, or are they promising what you promise, and saying what you say? Almost always, what we think separates us from the pack is pretty much standard lip service.
- To truly separate from the pack, you need to deliver “Wow!” at an unsurpassed level. And to do that, you need to be firing on all cylinders, all the time.
Create a Strategic Plan with “Wow!”
Your business, and every one of your competitors, has unlimited “Wow!” opportunities. There is always the potential to further delight customers. Most businesses routinely add features and new offerings, in an attempt to generate buzz. You probably do the same.
But to surpass the competition, you can’t be satisfied following the crowd. You need to do more than add whistles and bells.
- Instead, set your strategy holistically. Set your company up for success by creating an integrated whole, where every aspect of your business works together and is focused on consistently and constantly enhancing your customer’s experience.
- Consider every aspect of your company, from your product, sales team and management to the part-time packer, accounting practices and human resources policies.
- What can each area do, and how can the areas work together, to create a glorious customer experience available nowhere else? Here, creativity is critical. Yesterday’s solutions are old hat. The marketplace thrives on novelty.
- Create a strategic plan which integrates breakthrough customer service within and between every department and silo. Develop your goals, strategies, tactics, action plans and deadlines to consistently surprise and delight customers all the time, every time.
- Enter into an ongoing, organization-wide commitment to constantly create and sustain “Wow!”
Every business has areas of excellence. Some have convenient hours, or friendly staff. Some have great facilities or liberal credit policies. But every business also has areas of weakness and opportunity. A provider can “Wow!” you in one area, but frustrate you in another.
Instead of looking for the next gimmick, evaluate your company as a whole. Constantly explore new ways to delight customers in every aspect of business. Integrate components to provide a seamless experience.
Your customer service is only as strong as the weakest link. Create a strategic plan to create ongoing and sustained customer service excellence. Create the systems which consistently “Wow!” your customers.