These scenarios might be all-too familiar:
- An underwhelmed client leaves you and starts going to your competitor, even though you thought everything was going great.
- You realize your sales revenues have plummeted by 25% at the end of the quarter, but you weren't aware of the downward trend until closing quarter-end financials.
- Projects are dragging on for weeks, going way over deadline and way over budget.
No organization is immune from these kinds of problems. They can (and do) happen anywhere. But when they do happen, you have a choice. You can do nothing and allow things to continue the way they have been going, or you can be proactive about identifying problems before they become a major catastrophe. I'm sure you would rather fall into the latter category, but what can, and should, you do to be proactive about recognizing the warning signs?
First, you need to quantify those "warning signs" and measure them in real-time. This way, you can identify problems right away before they become major issues. Here are 5 examples of things you could be tracking:
1. Customer Satisfaction
Satisfaction surveys should be a matter of process. Here at Nexxtep, we implement surveys in a number of ways:
- A short survey is sent to our clients after every support ticket is closed
- A longer survey is sent to new clients half-way through our new client on-boarding process
- We now send out satisfaction surveys half-way through and at the end of each web design project.
The more opportunities you give your clients to provide honest feedback, the more likely they will be to provide it. If you can quickly identify isolated incidents of dissatisfaction, you can step in and prevent those incidents from happening again. Not to mention, positive comments and feedback from clients can be used for testimonials for your website and other marketing materials.
2. Sales Metrics
These might include:
- Outbound sales calls
- Number of active leads
- Average price per sale
- Close rate
If you actively track your sales numbers, you'll quickly notice if and when things begin to slow down, and who is falling behind.
3. Employee Satisfaction
Gallup studies show that businesses with high employee satisfaction rates have:
- 86% higher customer ratings
- 76% more success in lowering turnover
- 70% higher profitability
- 78% better safety records
If your best employees aren't happy, they will find work elsewhere. One way to gauge employee satisfaction is through surveys. Another way is to use leadership rounding.
4. Production Volume
Production volume for you might mean the number of parts produced in your factory in a given time. Or, it might be total billable hours in a month. Every organization should be able to identify and measure production volume in some way. Similarly to sales metrics, if you actively track production volume, you'll notice right away if production is slowing, and you'll identify which employees are the most (and least) productive.
5. Network Security
Are your backups being tested so that you know that they're working? Are employees' workstations protected with the latest antivirus and security patches? Do you get alerts when these things aren't happening? You may think all these things are being handled, but can you or your IT staff see this information laid out in front of you, updated in real-time? If not, you could be sitting on a ticking time bomb that's ready to explode any minute.