Mike’s Rant – Proper Perspective
There is a forest…and there are trees…and there is a difference.
Today we’re going to talk about the big picture. Proper perspective. And how the frame you use can massively determine your actions, decisions, and results.
There is a time to look at the trees. And there is a time to survey the forest.
What’s the difference? And in what situations should I use each frame of reference?
Let’s talk first about the trees.
At the most basic level trees are the individual elements. They are the paperwork. They are individual project steps or projects that are part of a larger whole. They are the details. The transaction. The sale. They are the policies and procedures that should be followed 95% of the time to ensure a profitable and healthy business.
When there is a problem. Often times it presents itself as a tree. A customer service opportunity. Policies and procedures have been put in place.
When Should We Deviate?
But then there is the forest.
The forest is different. That is your frame. The perspective you use to view the complete situation. The forest is where key decisions are made. That is where the 5% critical decisions lie that make the difference between success and failure in a business. That’s where managers and owners come in.
So how about an example.
A man comes to return a suit…
Let’s say you’re the owner of a fine clothing store and a customer comes in to return a suit that, in his opinion, doesn’t fit right. What do you do?
Well you could say, “I’m sorry sir. But we have a ‘no return policy’. You can’t return the suit.”
That would be a great decision IF…
IF this was a one time purchase
AND you didn’t value the relationship
AND that customer didn’t tell anyone else about the bad customer service
AND you didn’t mind risking bodily harm from someone who was unhappy
AND you could live with yourself.
AND you don’t value your business as a continuing operation
Yes, there are people who think that way. And it is very short-sighted.
So how else could this have been handled?
You could say, “Sir, can you show me where it isn’t fitting quite right? Maybe we can get it altered while you wait.”
That would certainly be a better solution for your business’s long term survival than the first option, wouldn’t you agree?
So let’s say it isn’t fixable. Do you return the suit even if your policy is you don’t?
Time for a Reframe
- How do you view the relationship? Is this a customer relationship you want to encourage?
- What’s the lifetime value of a happy customer? How much are they potentially going to spend in your business?
- What is positioning of your brand? High end? Or inexpensive?
- Is this an opportunity to surprise him with your over-delivery? Will that result in referrals or a testimonial that will impact much more than this one purchase?
- Where do you see your business in 3 years? 5 years? 10 or 20 years? Note: the longer your time horizon the bigger the opportunity for recognizing the value of a satisfied customer.
So where do you put yourself on this scale of short-term versus a long-term value horizon?
I caution you to avoid short-sighted thinking in order to rake in the money now…and shoot yourself in the foot so that there is no later for your business.
Business is largely built on trust. Trust is hard earned and can vanish quickly.
How are you framing things in your business? Are you bringing Proper Perspective?