Becoming easy to do business with is built around an approach that’s customer-focused and company-focused at the same time.
Being easy to do business with requires more than just friendly attitudes. It requires systems that work so well that they make it easy for you to do things.
Yes, the process starts with service, but it’s much more than that. In fact, almost every time you think someone is providing good service, you’ll understand their success more clearly if you think of their approach as being easy to do business with.
Making it easy to do business requires a new way of thinking — from the inside out — removing the obstacles that are standing between you and your customers.
Easy to do business with
Stop thinking about friendliness and good attitudes, and focus on removing the obstacles that stand between you and your customers.
Those obstacles are costing you time, money and effort, while they’re annoying your customers at the same time. Learning to remove those internal obstacles is surprisingly easy, but it takes some ingenuity and persistence.
You’ve got to organize so that you do routine things in a routine way.
The easiest way is to design all your systems around making normal things normal. This will make you more efficient and responsive, while freeing you to deal with exceptions.
You’ll want to avoid making your systems too broad, because designing one system to handle everything usually makes the system too complex.
Normal systems should handle normal things without being unwieldy or slow. The realistic test is whether a system can handle about 80% of the situations you normally encounter.
And don’t get hung up in trying to develop a single way of doing things. Multiple pathways are okay — as long as they’re not work-arounds or improvisations. So if you handle some large and complex orders, you can certainly use a different process than the one you use for smaller or simpler transactions. The two methods aren’t in conflict. They’re aligning your approach with the relevant needs.
Exceptions are okay. In fact, it’s important to create alternative pathways, and install sensible rules for choosing one path or another. Then let your people use their judgment in deciding whether a situation can follow the normal path or requires special attention.
You’ll have normal ways of handling normal things, and normal ways of handling exceptions.
What a concept. What a relief!
I know this sounds fanciful, but I’ve found that as CEOs begin to make progress, they find themselves with time to begin improving processes that are already working pretty well, which will make things work even better.
Of course, you can only test this by doing it yourself. It’s well worth trying.