Why it’s important to be proactive rather than reactive

If you look at any high performing business, they actively plan into the future. However, many businesses fail to develop a strategic plan. They are mostly reactive to what’s happening today, this week, etc. and focus more on their competition.

To be #1

Number one companies follow the mantra “obsess over your customers, not over your competitors”. They proactively look at how to keep adding value to their customers and how to ensure they give their customers a brilliant service experience. They focus on team training and mentoring to ensure their team always can deliver high standards of customer service.

Whereas most companies in a reactive mode, continually focus on what their competitors are doing an end up in a price war trying to outdo each other to win customers. The challenge with this reactive approach is that it’s challenging to stay focused on your own game, and you keep being trapped into someone else’s. The only thing you can control in a competitive market is what you do internally to ensure you deliver service excellence. Trying to control and outwit your competitors is a risky and expensive game.

Lead your market

If you focus on be doing everything you can to be proactive in the way you deliver service excellence, you will automatically be ahead of your competition. Most are too busy focusing on what everyone else is doing, rather than being very strategic on what they’re doing themselves. One key reason is that they don’t have any quality data to know what’s going on. At best they have a vague opinion. As W. Edwards Deming said, “without data your just another person with an opinion”, and we all know what that’s worth.

Knowledge = power

Being strategically proactive ensures there is a game plan and measurement to know if you’re on track. With the correct KPIs, you can measure how well you are fulfilling the prediction. There’s a metric that we call the one number theory. It’s in the centre of measuring everything that’s going on in your business. A very accurate customer experience measurement provides a clear reflection from an independent market perspective, that is, the true voice of your customer.

When you can measure all of these critical areas from the independent perspective of your market, you have a very accurate assessment of how well you are performing. When you have this information and you keep driving it towards the optimal 10/10 result, you can keep designing in a proactive manner that ensures you are staying ahead of the game and fulfilling and exceeding customer expectations.

Proactive = $$$

The proactivity of customer experience ensures there is a plan and a commitment to growing revenue, and based on increasing the value you offer to your customers. The more value you provide, the more they will spend, the higher-margin you’ll receive because they’re happy to pay for quality, but most importantly they refer their friends and colleagues.

So, the simple analogy is, if you obsess over your customers and not over your competitors and put in a series of very accurate KPIs to understand what your customers value about doing business with you, you are in a powerful position. If you don’t do this, and you just wait and see what happens in the challenging economy ahead, it’s potentially a recipe for disaster.

Darrell Hardidge, CEO, Saguity, and author of “The Client Revolution and The 10 Commandments of Client Appreciation”

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