The 3 Things

Loved this week’s New York Times Corner Office interview with Shivan Subramaniam, the CEO of FM Global, a commercial and industrial property insurer.

Again, the simplicity of the wisdom is brilliant. Over the years, he and his company have crafted very simple goals for their company. They call them “key result areas” or K.R.A.’s. As he is quoted: “We’re multinational — we’ve got 5,100 people, 1,800 of whom are engineers. We’re very analytical. But we have three K.R.A.’s, nothing terribly fancy. And everybody focuses on them. One is on profitability. One is on retention of existing clients. And one is on attracting new clients. That’s it.”

Wow. What if each of us ONLY focused on profitability, retention of existing clients, AND attracting new clients. What do you think – would our businesses thrive and expand?

Of course. The ‘what to do’ is the easy part.

Now, let’s focus and figure out  the ‘how to accomplish’ these simple 3 things for our respective fields.

2 responses to “The 3 Things

  1. #2 should be #1…taking care of existing CUSTOMERS. It is like taking care of your current vehicle! Quick story, my sister and husband RV year round. Recently took their RV in to the shop where it was purchased to have a roof replaced due to a faulty air-conditioner leak. The cost of the roof was going to be $9000, not a small amount of money. They had been doing business with this company for the past 12 years. The RV was left, they had to make housing arrangements for 10 days…then on day 11, the service tech called and said, that the repair was bumped because the shop was busy with new customers and could not confirm when the repair could be done. It might be at least a month. When questioned, the RV company said NEW business was more important than a “repair” job.

    NOW tell me what do you think the odds of my sister ever going back to that business again are. Plus, they still have to find a repair shop for the roof.

    Companies forget that it is the little things that make up the foundation of success.

    Look forward to meeting you in January.

  2. I think your story illustrates a disease that is pervasive within many businesses, both large and small. Customer service is treated as an orphan child, the mentality is “hey, we already got their money” when in fact, getting their money is only one part of the equation of success. Customer retention should be treated as a separate category in business, just as getting new business is.

    Most businesses I know of, large and small when asked if they have a good customer service program and do they look after current and past customers as dilligently as they court new customers, they all will say yes. In fact, most don’t, if most did, then we would not see companies like Zappos, Amazon, Lands End, LL Bean and the like always being noted for their superior customer service, superior customer loyalty and true dedication to the customers that they have already gotten their money from. They understand the real value of a customer, it is not in the one sale, but rather in the lifetime sales value.

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