A Critical Stress Test for your Business
2011/08/07 Leave a comment
Measuring the alignment of your Products and Customers is a critical business stress test that will help you adjust to the impact on your customers of the global financial crisis over the past three years.
Business Stress Tests & Heart Attacks
Stress in a business is worse than stress in an individual because few companies know how to percieve or measure the stress that slowly builds up over time. People who ignore the signs of stress suffer heart attacks which can kill.
Mayo Clinic Understands Stress
Mis-understanding signs of stress can kill you and this is understood by the Mayo clinic who highlight the fact that signs of an imminent heart attack are confused by most people–they don’t know how to measure when a hear attack is about to occur. http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/heart-attack-symptoms/HB00054
What is a Stress Test?
The recent financial crisis shows that regulators appear to view the banks like a heart attack victim where the probability of a second or third heart attack is quite high and may kill the patient. To help patients understand how their body’s new physical reality and to reduce their risk to a second heart attack doctors put mild stress on the heart by asking the patient to excercise and then measure the results to see how the heart responds. The doctor shows the patient in a controlled environment signs of stress so they can change their perception of how much effort is beyond what their heart can deliver after their heart attack and hopefully the patient learns how to change their measures of how much work they can do to correspond to the decreased capacity of their heart rather then their previous reality where their heart could take much more stress.
Stress in your Product and Customer Relationship
The value the products deliver to your customers is the ‘heart’ of your business and it this value has changed in the past three years, guaranteed.
Your customers might have demanded lower prices, newer product features, financing options or simply put aside your product by changing their business processes or moving to your competitor and this changed would have changed the relationship of your product to your customers.
There is something worse however than dealing with customer demands and that is losing customers by not knowlng they have moved on because of their own business stress which you were unable to aleviate, or even worse you may have repelled potential customers by not adapting your products fast enough to be valuable to current needs.
Businesses often don’t know they’ve had a ‘heart attack’ as their customers may leave slowly over time so a stress test must indicate changes in customer perception before they leave.
The simplest way to measure stress in the Product and Customer relationship is by measuring the changes in content you customers need to extract or apply the value they derive from your product and content needs may be measured simply by the resources needed to help your current or future customers define their problems or questions and how your products help them refine their solutions or answers.
Experienced customers tend not to ask questions as they better than you how they use your product in their business so in this case it is important to find a way to observe changes in their business and infer how this affects your product as often they will not say that they are about to drop your product.
New customers often requires more hand holding, have more questions and seem to require more support as they learn how to fit your product into their business operations.
Predictive Analytics & Stress Testing
As your business understands how it must respond to the new business reality, just like a recovering heart attack victim, it is important to measure the way customers ask questions or articulate the answers they need to understand their problems or the solutions they seek. The ability to measure changes in your Product and Customer relationship helps you understand future needs in your customers and offer unique solutions that attract new customers faster than your competitors.
Predictive analytis tools help us measure customer content needs and infer how the problems or solutiions that are important in their businesses so that we can align our answers or products to help their solve their questions.
Stress Tests are Competitive Weapons
Stress testing is simple once we understand changing content needs of customers. We simply poll all of our customers to understand if they would change to a new product designed to meet a particualr stress that we have identified by understanding changing content needs. When we have identified an opportunity for a new product then we offer this product to our competitor’s customers to stress test their Product and Customer relationships.
Ask us about Customer and Product stress testing and how we have used them as competitive weapons.