The Value Chain: How to Deliver on the Promise of Service
Let’s try to answer a fundamental question: What is a business?
You may have a few different answers: a way to make money; a service; the backbone of the economy. Fundamentally though, it is a system for consistently supplying significant value to customers. That is why businesses exist and why they thrive when they do it well.
Truthfully, the only product people buy or sell is results. Meeting your customers’ needs and desires is the only way to keep your company’s doors open. If you can’t consistently add value, you probably won’t be in business much longer.
“Outstanding companies begin with outstanding people.” — Tony Robbins
The key to producing uninterrupted customer satisfaction is creating a value chain. Every person on your staff is a link in the chain, and each link must perform three core responsibilities:
Effectively Receive. Actively and intelligently listen to your customers’ needs. Real leaders hear past the literal message and find the implicit communication behind it.
Add Significant Value on Time. Late service breaks the chain, which you never want to do.
Effectively Supply and Verify. Again, timeliness is a crucial factor if you hope to have repeat business. Clarify with the next link in the chain to ensure they know what’s required for their step of the process, and provide them with what’s needed to maintain uninterrupted service.
Some value chain structures are routine, and team members learn their responsibilities through everyday performance. But what about unusual events like a random audit? Even then, it’s just as important your value chain provide timely satisfaction, which is why you must train effectively and verify results at every step. Breakdowns in the value chain are triggered by over-confidence, distraction, exhaustion, a lowering of standards, confusion, or someone going beyond their skill level. It only takes one breakdown to destroy value for the customer.
If there is a break, sit down and draw out the entire value chain. Where did the breakdown occur or begin? Determine whether it happened at a consistently weak link, then develop a solution to immediately and permanently address the problem.
Your value chain is only as strong as your team. Here are the qualities that will make each team member successful:
Clear and committed
Responsible for the outcome
Doesn’t make assumptions
Trusts but also verifies
Leverages, doesn’t delegate
Has the heart of a servant, an attitude of gratitude and love for the team
Gets and gives help and is coachable
As a leader, the ultimate responsibility is yours, so effective strategy and execution must flow from you to keep your value chain strong.