The title of today’s article is exactly what I want to say to so many business owners, C-Level Leaders (CEO-CFO-COO-CRO, etc.) and Board Directors!
I’m so tired of seeing so many companies downsize, reduce employee levels, and even go out of business … for the wrong reasons!
- Yes, the economy is at an all-time low!
- Yes, competition is tremendous!
- Yes, we have no leadership on Capitol Hill from either party!
- Yes, clients and customers have less to spend and are more demanding than ever!
- Yes, it’s challenging to find good employees!
HOWEVER, while every one of the above conditions can be crucial to the success of any business today, the two most obvious reasons for failure are not on that list!
- Poor leadership!
- Poor customer service!
While many will immediately dismiss these two elements for any number of unsubstantiated reasons, it takes only a moment to discover credible evidence to the contrary.
Let me give you an example that most of us have witnessed in our own communities. Best Buy vs. Circuit City.
Consider the following data:
- Both stores were usually located within a mile of one another.
- Both stores appeared very much the same inside and outside.
- Both stores served the same customer base.
- Both stores hired from the same potential employee base.
- Both stores carried pretty much the same product lines.
- Both stores charged relatively the same prices as they both price matched.
Consider this data and you can pretty much eliminate the majority of the initial reasons listed earlier for the failure of businesses today! Based on this data, how do you explain one company “busted” while another “boomed”?
As the world watched the demise of Circuit City, a large number of magazines wrote articles suggesting why this may have happened. Time Magazine was one of many that discovered the obvious. Here are a few of its findings:
- Circuit City stopped selling appliances. (poor leadership and poor customer service)
- It didn’t move as aggressively into gaming as it should have. (poor leadership and poor customer service)
- It missed out on big in-store promotions with thriving companies like Apple Computer. (poor leadership and poor customer service)
- Circuit City neglected to improve its Web presence, just as online retailers like Amazon.com were hitting their stride. (poor leadership and poor customer service)
- Circuit City laid off its highest-paid hourly employees, including salespeople, and replaced them with cheaper workers. That same year, the CEO received $7 million in compensation. (poor leadership and poor customer service)
- Circuit City became complacent — a fatal mistake in the fiercely competitive and fast-evolving business environment. (poor leadership and poor customer service)
- Circuit City’s most obvious failing was its customer service. A quick Web search on “Circuit City complaints” would bring up hundreds of thousands of entries. (poor leadership and poor customer service)
I could go on and on, but at this point anything I might say would be redundant.
Sit down with your Board if you have one, your leadership team, and even your employees to discuss the obvious facts listed above. It doesn’t matter if you own one location or close to 600 like Circuit City. It doesn’t matter if you’ve been in business for less than a year or more than 60 years as Circuit City was at the time of its closing.
Apply this information to your own current situation and create an action plan to eliminate negatives and create and/or accentuate the needed positives you may discover.
You can do very little to impact or change the many excuses companies are using for not doing well today.
However, you can do a great deal to enhance the two areas which are most critical to your success … Good Leadership and Good Customer Service! Will you?
If you’d like some assistance, we travel all over North America assisting our clients in their enhancement efforts in both critical areas! Call us at 1-800-886-2629 today!
About Harry K. Jones
Harry K. Jones is a motivational speaker and consultant for AchieveMax®, Inc., a company of professional speakers who provide custom-designed seminars, keynote presentations, and consulting services. Harry's top requested topics include change management, customer service, creativity, employee retention, goal setting, leadership, stress management, teamwork, and time management. For more information on Harry's presentations, please call 800-886-2629 or fill out our contact form.