The reasons why companies lose customers ('customer attrition' is the marketing jargon for this) are easy to identify in theory, particularly when you take the customer journey approach – examining all the stages in the recruitment process from first contact through to the time when the contract expires and the customer is free to move.
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A millionaire reader once told me that he had built up his eminently successful business by following these dozen points from my 1980 book, The Business of Winning...
How would you like to achieve the financial benefits of a major company shake-up…
The easiest task in management is buying another business – you only need to identify the acquisition target, work out how much you want to pay, and make your offer.
How far is my company away from failure? The question itself sounds like an admission of inadequacy. The confident manager surely doesn't walk around waiting for nemesis to strike. Rather, confident people strut the stage like a colossus, with all the certainty, say, of Bill Gates.
Strategy has been having a wonderful run for management's money.
When markets are changing rapidly and unpredictably, strategies and tactics must also be flexible.
So revolutionary companies, within a broad visionary context, delegate strategic planning to business units which are able to adapt swiftly to shifting markets. Using IT, the centre controls without interfering. One of the key controls is planning itself.
Everybody makes mistakes. But the biggest mistake of all is failure to learn from error. The lessons of misjudgements, miscalculations and mismanagement teach more than success - if you're prepared to face the realities of failure.
That giant of customer service, the late Sam Walton, advised other managements to 'break all the rules.'
You don't change for its own sake - you change to realise the strategic vision.
What does Mercedes-Benz have in common with H.J. Heinz and Coca-Cola?
Quality is a word from which few managers can hope to escape for long these days. That's not quality meaning 'goodness, beauty, luxury, brightness or excellence' (to quote guru Philip Crosby), nor even meaning a product free from fault.
The concept of the all-powerful customer is nothing new; Peter Drucker wrote long ago that 'there is only one valid definition of business purpose - to create a customer'.
This is how NOT to buy a business...
Business history is littered with the corpses of companies that were hailed and deeply admired, not just by ephemeral stock markets and their acolytes, but by highly experienced and intelligent management gurus.