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Sunday, 23 September 2012

Thinking of Restructuring the Business? Ask Yourself, Will it Benefit the Customer?


From time to time, the leader gets a rush of blood to the head or is slightly bored and decides that it is time to restructure the business.

Reasons are usually “because we have changed or the markets have changed or the economy has changed or whatever”, mostly specious arguments it must be said, but sufficient to start the process off.

Seldom, however, does the question is asked of “how can we improve our service to the customer, and could that mean that we need to restructure?”

Most restructures result from an innate feeling that we are not quite as effective as we could be and some changes in the way that we run the business would be a good idea.

It is, more often than not, a case of addressing the symptoms rather than looking at the root cause of any ineffectiveness.  By the way, the best way to find out how you are doing is to ask the customers, not in a sterile and formal questionnaire, but rather face to face and preferably leader to leader.

As a result of a period of introspection b the leader there should be a better view of why it is necessary to change the way in which the business operates and this may, and I emphasise, may include restructuring.

At all times the question of “how will this improve customer service” must be at the forefront of the discussions.

A further and important point is that restructuring must never be mooted to rearrange the people we have currently.  Any restructuring needs initially to done in a vacuum by concentrating on the roles, existing or new, which need to be in place.

After that the existing people can be allocated or reallocated the posts and the roles which may of course cause some problems.  At least, the leader will be aware of the possibilities beforehand and can take the necessary action.

The leader needs always to be aware that change can be seen as a threat if it imposed so if it is feasible to engage the team in any restricting project, then much of the fear of change can be eliminated.

Any significant change in the way that the business operates needs to be tested and needs time to bed in.  Adjustment to the systems and procedures does not imply failure or incompetence; rather it demonstrates an ability to adjust and make certain that the changes are working satisfactorily.

In the end, if you do restructure, check regularly to see whether your service to the markets has improved and measure the response from the customers on a regular basis. 

Above all, get rid of the Customer Service Department and work to ensure that everyone in the business understands that they are individually responsible for supreme service to the customers.
 
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