The last few weeks have seen a variety of keynotes for leadership meetings — for a telecom company, food services organization, commercial real estate & property management firm, among others. These have involved audiences from 250+ to 800+ executives.
Obviously, the economy weighs heavily into my observations on stage, and in the questions in the Q&A.
The keynotes have been built around my theme of 7 Things You Need to Do Right Now: Aligning The Fast Future to Your Current Strategy.
One of the 7 Things that has stood out – in common with all these organizations — focuses on the reality that with an economic correction underway, it is critical to keep existing customer/client relationships intact. Indeed, the CEO at the event yesterday noted that “customer retention” was one of the top 6 priorities for 2009.
What’s the innovation issue here? There is a big opportunity in solidifying existing relationships by solving customer/client problems before they know they have them. This is BIG.
Think about these issues, and innovate from them in terms of what you do with your customers / clients:
- when times get tough, quality, service and relationships rule: operational excellence is more important than ever.
- focus on a new partnership with the customer, for example: “we’ve got the latest strategies to help achieve cost savings”
- stay ahead of fast paced change that you can utilize for the customer — with the attitude being, “we’re on top of fast paced developments that impact you, so you don’t need to be!”
- make sure your customer understands that you are ahead of the pack in solving their problems.
Staying in front of the trends, and solving your customers problems faster, will be a key method of providing for retention, which is going to prove to be critical during the correction. It’s a critical innovation strategy right now!