There is one cost-free approach to boost business performance. Owners/managers use their eyes and observe employees, customers, and competitors. The best part of observation is that it’s FREE! The lessons nonprofit organizations and for-profit businesses learn from oversight and listening can be put into place right away.
Pay Attention to Employees
Employees are always doing something. Every organization expects employees to complete productive and beneficial activities. For example, employees might accomplish a specific task, relate with their co-workers, or accommodate customers. Owners (or managers) gain a key perspective as to how well an employee is doing his or her job by watching, supervising, and listening. Depending upon the job, an owner can evaluate how well the employee communicates with customers.
Therefore, owners need to be motivated when taking this approach to business improvement. Sitting in an office with the door closed is NOT observation. Management needs to know the pulsebeat of their respective businesses and/or organizations. The proactive approach calls for actual observation, participate with employees in various job-related activities, listen or join in on phone conversations. Another active approach also includes customer follow-up. Observing employees in “real-time” enables an owner/manager to praise employees when needed, generate enthusiasm when employees may be exhausted, or take instant remedial action if necessary.
For a business to succeed, all of the employees must work together in unison. Employees are the key connector between the business and the customer. Therefore, employees’ actions can help turn potential prospects into paying customers and first-time customers into dependable, repeat buyers. It doesn’t matter who the customer may be. The customer could be another business. For another businesses, the customer is a consumer from the general public.
As every business knows, without customers there is no business. For that reason, treat all customers like kings and queens…each and every time they use your business. When owners watch customers’ reactions and truly listen to their comments regarding their buying experiences, owners find out first-hand what their customers want and how products or services can be enhanced.
Hearing directly from customers is not always the same as hearing from employees. Observe and interact with customers. That’s the communication pipeline every owner should try to achieve. What an owner learns from customers is vital. That’s because no one knows more what customers want than customers themselves. For future growth and longevity, successful businesses meet customer demands better than the competition.
Keep an Eye on Competitors
Equally important, successful owners understand and know their own businesses. Owners also closely watch their competitors. In order to thrive in today’s world, every business owner needs to develop a “competitor checklist.” For example, what marketing tactics does the competition use? How much does the competition charge for its product and/or service? What makes the competition so attractive to consumers? Is the competition better?
Businesses do not operate in a vacuum. To be a leader in its respective industry, every business knows how it stacks up against the competition’s products and services. The more a business knows about its competition, the better its chances of gaining a competitive advantage.
Observation, whether with employees, customers, or the competition, is not a one-time event. Since observations are easy and cost-free management tools, slated to improve business performance, the following “business benefits” should occur:
- Employee performance improves.
- Owner/employee communication becomes stronger.
- Customer needs and desires take a high priority.
- Competitor strengths and weaknesses are identified.
There are no downsides, only upsides to observation. Observation is one cost-free approach sure to boost business performance. Every business and/or organization needs to observe now and see the results!