Trimming your services is not the way to deal with tough economic times. You NEED your current clients. Treating them well now will help ensure they stay with you now and later.
There are two mistakes I see companies making a lot these days. Let’s visit each of them.
In an attempt to cut costs, companies trim some of the services they had been offering to their clients. Many problems exist here. For one, you are taking away the differentiators. Now you are just like everyone else. When things become more commoditized, you have to find a way to stand out. Unfortunately, these companies end up looking just like everyone else. They’ve removed one of the essential reasons their clients do business with them.
In addition, you are sending your clients some really bad messages. You are telling them you don’t appreciate them. Think about it. You take away some special services. In essence saying, you are just like everyone else and so are we. You are also telegraphing that you are having trouble. Telling the world that you are in trouble does not instill confidence.
Now more than ever, your clients need to know that you are stable and that you still value them. Value them enough to keep the services they’ve come to expect.
The other mistake companies make is failing to include their staff in the problem solving. When you are having trouble, get your staff together and tell them about it. Then ask them to share any ideas they have for cost cutting. You’ll be surprised at the ideas people have! It’s a much better plan than simply fire people week after week. Do you have any idea how the people who are still there feel when that happens?
When you empower people and respect them, they’ll help the company succeed. Then, if there is still a need to let some people go, they’ll understand it – because they see it coming. I’m not sure why business leaders are afraid to include their people in the process. I don’t know if they lack confidence in their people, or they are afraid they’ll quit and leave them hanging, or . . .
What I do know is this – it is NOT leadership to simply fire people to cut costs. If you are employing people who do their job well and contribute to the company, then treat them that way. You may just find some solutions you hadn’t expected.