There are certainly more than five things any one customer should do in today’s business environment; however, I narrowed down what are perhaps the five key ones I would examine in any business, as these focus on the foundational elements of any business regardless of industry. At its core, these questions ask to look at the structural integrity of their business (people and systems), adoption of a digital footprint, planning and forecasting, and relationships & dependencies across a business.
- Evaluating their internal structure, meaning; examine their organizational chart to see how it is currently broken up, and if it is creating silo’s or roadblocks to managing their business and/or meeting customer’s expectations; and understanding skills and personnel resources.
- Evaluate their systematic structure (legacy systems, third party solutions, in-house solutions, etc.) to see if it is aligned with their internal structure. If it is, do these relationships create the same silo’s in information processing and management, and same roadblocks?
- Examine their digital footprint – confirm they have a digital front, either a store or branded site; that provides a consistent, unified message across their selling channels…and, more importantly, make sure the experience is the same across channels. Consider the fact that over 75% of customer journeys begin online; so, although almost 90% of purchases still happen in the store, if the digital journey is not matched with the physical, they are losing customers and market share.
- Are they planning or just reacting? More specifically, are clients linking their plans, real-time, for evaluating, forecasting, and adjusting based on actual results? This means not just looking at KPI’s or metrics and BI dashboards; rather, evaluating performance based on expectations, trends, and a dynamic view of their business through insights driven by AI across all data points.
- Are they connecting the journey for the customer both from an external and internal perspective; meaning, are they linking the operational steps involved with creating and marketing a campaign/presentation, with the merchandising/product planning, and the fulfillment of a product?