Are your Systems Holding Your Business Back?

One of the keys to business success is the consistency of delivery of a service / product. It is important when we grow and more people get involved in delivering customer ‘experience’ that we develop systems that record how we do things and ensure that these systems are followed by all. This consistency is the cornerstone of great client retention as a variable service level is one sure way to confuse and disappoint our customer so they will leave us. In fact, statistically it is believed that 68% of our customers leaving us, do so because of perceived indifference. This means that although we may care about them and what we do for them, they just don’t feel it.

These systems however can be the start of a downfall if left and not reviewed on an ongoing basis. The reason that this is so important is that they are developed at a point in time of the company’s development and were undoubtedly appropriate then but may well be out of date now.

Consider a high street retail business that was started 60 years ago and operated as many did then on a pay me by cash or cheque situation. The systems developed were around:-

  • handling the cash
  • having plenty of change and a float in the tills
  • banking with a provider that accepts large amounts of change being paid in
  • a large safe to keep all this loot in
  • etc

Now, things have moved on in this area significantly with the emergence of credit and debit cards.  All of a sudden the system requirements in this type of business have dramatically changed. We need to review our systems and change them to one that is more appropriate or we risk losing sales because people tend to carry less cash these days.  Consider how payment methods will change in the near future…….. only this week on the news we were being shown how people are paying for goods by using transfer between telephone numbers on their phones. Apparently over 400,000 in the UK are signed up for this process and it is increasing at a rapid rate. We need to recognise these changes and update our systems in a timely manner.

The rate of change in business is increasing rapidly.  It used to be considered that if we we’re doing something now the same as we were doing 10 years ago then we really should be looking at it. Now in some cases if we’re doing things the same as we were just 6 months ago we need to do an urgent review.

One of the most important times to review is when the business moves up (or down) a level. For example, the customer management may easily be handled on an excel spreadsheet when we only have a handful of customers but as we grow and take on many more customers we may need to change the system to a more formal CRM system. Or, you may have found that previously you were able to find satisfactory employees by putting a sign in your window or a notice in the local shop, however now you need a professional recruiter to help you find a team with the right skills.

To do this review we do however need to have full understanding of our processes and why they are as they are. In many businesses when we ask why something is done that way, we often get the answer… that’s the way I was shown, or we have always done it that way.  If we truly have the understanding of why we do it we can understand what needs to change and why. For more on this see ‘The Levels’ book by Ray Moore when he talks about the tribe fishing by the river discusses ‘fishing’.


Visit or call 01245 392 010 to find out how we can help you.


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