Pipeline! Delivering on Your Promises ...
The Fourth Stage of the Pipeline is the "Deliver" or "Investment" Stage, depending on how you look at it. This stage is where you'll be taking action to get the product or service to your customer AND where the customer is physically investing or transferring their financial (and emotional) support to you in return.
If you haven't gathered, this IS the stage where actual "hard cash" is produced by your business process. Everything you've done up to this point positioned you so that it produces maximum results, income being one of them. Another result produced here is the "customer loyalty" that keeps you in business. Without it you'll be hard pressed to expend future resources in keeping your process going.
You (should) know your business better than anyone. So, let's work a bit on your process in respect to customers. There are things overlooked at this stage that maximize the impact on customer satisfaction. They all relate to "Effectiveness and Efficiency." (Please send an E-mail to me for more info on this.)
First, if customers walk away disappointed, it's usually because "their expectations" weren't fulfilled by what you delivered. Though it is exactly what "you promised," you would be wise to review your previous stages OR revamp what you're delivering. Managing your customer's expectations is important. Only one thing works better for reducing future business than negative word-of-mouth-advertising and that's an empty feeling in your customer's gut after delivery.
Another way of looking at this is focusing on the effectiveness of what you're delivering. Is it having the expected effect? And this includes a huge deposit in your customer's "Emotional Bank Account" from your customer. Remember, "customers" want satisfaction. "You" however, are wanting them to be delighted to the point of being a "Raving Fan!" (See Ken Blanchard's book on this subject for a brilliant and delightful review.) Part of this occurs at this stage.
Look at it from these points. 1) If something is missing, people will talk because talking brings satisfaction. 2) If something isn't missing, people remain quite because they're satisfied. 3) If something is delivered that jars to the point of "positive squealing," people will rejoice and sing! And others will take notice AND take action.
So what effect is your delivery having? Are your customers talking, silent or singing you praise to others.
The second item to consider is about "efficiency." Is what you're delivering wasting any time energy, or money unnecessarily? How about the reverse? Is your process so efficient that it's costing you in the "emotional bank account" area with your customers? Many processes are very efficient in the mechanism of delivering and have not taken into consideration the human element. It IS part of the process and it actually causes future business. So, how balanced it your process here?
Hint: There are many other ways to create greater opportunity for repeat customers at this stage. Focus on the effect you want for and from your customers. It's the other element that this process delivers back and many overlook.
Creating an Effective/Efficient Fourth Stage: Ask yourself how well your process delivers your product or service. How well, too, are you meeting customer expectations? Do you have recurring glitches that take additional time and money to resolve? Is your criteria for equitable exchange occurring? What does your process look like for delivery? How well does it consistently deliver?
On a scale of one to ten, how would you rate yourself at the effectiveness in this area? What should be added to make it a perfect Ten if it's not? A good Stage Four assures both parties are getting what was promised AND expected.
There's one more stage to go - one that brings in future business when your process is right. Catch up with us next week when we cover Stage Five - Maintaining them!!
[Interested in receiving a graphic of the pipeline? Send a request to the following E-mail address Pipeline Request.
Have a BODACIOUS week!
Coach John S. Nagy is CEO and Lead Business Coach for Coaching for Success. Inc., a Business Coaching Service specifically designed for top level decision makers dedicated to peak performance in all facets of their activities. He's hired to focus them continuously in activities that bring higher returns on their resource use. His programs are for the seriously committed. This means having his clients work "ON" their businesses, not just "IN" it. He's a published author and a multi-degree professional with a nationwide client base. Coach Nagy can be reached through his E-mail address at his website at http://www.coach.net and by calling 813-949-0718.
Copyright © 1999 John S. Nagy