The SMART acronym for setting objectives is useful here. All objectives you set should be:
An audit is the gathering and analysis of information about what is happening and changing in the environment. The next stage for the Slovakia jewellery business was to start finding out about and listening to customers and learning about their expectations.
This might have required specialist staff, research and forecasting techniques. You may not be in a position to get help from such specialists, but even if you receive regular and comprehensive information about the environment, the market and your customers from elsewhere in your organisation, this can still be usefully supplemented by your own input.
Any manager can make a big difference to an organisation’s customer orientation by being more inquisitive. The more you try to understand the needs and expectations of your customers, the more likely you are to satisfy them.
It is up to individual managers to take responsibility for seeking out information, and then to think about, share and learn from it as a core part of their management roles.
A telling feature of customer-oriented organisations, in the public or private sector, is how good they are at:
Stage 1 Obtaining information
The first requirement for this stage is curiosity in your everyday dealings with colleagues, suppliers, competitors or other similar organisations, and of course with customers or clients. Typical questions to ask are:
The simple and regular management activity of keeping in touch with the world and with customers happens far less than most managers believe it should.
Next week we’ll be looking at the example of two frequently voiced objections to carrying out this sort of investigation...
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