Have you ever heard of the Kaizen approach? Its a term originating from Japan’s industrial era that promotes the importance of continual improvement. Underlying the Kaizen approach is a dedication by all staff members to improve effectiveness, satisfaction, and waste. It’s heralded that small, ongoing positive changes can reap major improvements.
This concept applies to all facets of a business, however I believe it’s highly applicable to marketing, and one that all aspiring companies should embody in their way of working.
Let me cite some examples.
Last week, I was trying to track down a product from a particular company.
The contact details on their website left no number. The only way to contact them was though a web contact form. I entered my email and details, hitting the submit button. Immediately, I received a reply to say that the message was not delivered as the company had exceeded its quota.
Yikes! If the BDM or business owner knew of this, all I could think of was shock horror! Imagine how many potential customers are turned away because customers can’t contact them?! Such a simple function with a disastrous impact.
Here’s another example. Loitering at the reception desk of a client of mine, the phone was ringing continually. I overheard the reception team huffing about enquiries of the same nature. This made me curious. Upon digging a little deeper, I learnt that their clients were all calling to ask the same question, frustrating not only the reception team, but no doubt the clients.
As a remedy, I suggested that this information be made readily visible on their website, social media channels and in regular communications such as newsletters. Within a week, the volume of calls subsided as clients were effectively informed.
The moral of the story is…. you and your team need to sweat the small stuff. Let your mistakes or customer pain points be the fuel for your improvements. As trivial as it may seem, all of these moments impact your brand, your reputation and of course, your marketing.
Spend time testing your systems and processes, review constantly and always look to close loopholes that lead to customer frustrations, poor satisfaction, or worst of all – customer attrition.
When you next hold your team meeting, make the Kaizen approach an Agenda item. Talk about ways each of your team members can be forward-thinking and proactive in their daily work – helping to make continual improvements. I can assure you, This will pay enormous dividends on your journey to building a successful and sustainable business.
The Ten principles of Kaizen are:
- Let go of assumptions.
- Be proactive about solving problems.
- Don’t accept the status quo.
- Let go of perfectionism and take an attitude of iterative, adaptive change.
- Look for solutions as you find mistakes.
- Create an environment in which everyone feels empowered to contribute.
- Don’t accept the obvious issue; instead, ask “why” five times to get to the root cause.
- Cull information and opinions from multiple people.
- Use creativity to find low-cost, small improvements.
- Never stop improving.