President & CEO
ROI is and has been the language of many business owners. People want to know what they're getting out of their financial commitments, and they'll pay for what they can quantify.
At the same time, there is a conflict between the urge to add up the dollars and cents and the “feel good” side of strong relationships with customers. At HNI, we take pride in our customer service and our ability to advocate for our clients. But for the customer, what is the ROI of our dedication and loyalty? Quantifying the value of a business relationship isn't easy.
Business decision makers are both rational and emotional. To keep your customers happy, you need to be able demonstrate your value on both sides of the equation.
Your customers can’t present the “feel good” stuff to their CFO. No matter how strong your relationship, you need to be able to quantify what your products and services bring to the table. Demonstrate rationally why you’re worth their investment.
Trust is the foundation of any solid business relationship. Your customers need to trust that you have their best interests in mind and that you’re working on their behalf. But with increasingly easy access to information, you're not going to get your customers' blind trust anymore - they're empowered to verify what you tell them and dig for information if you don't volunteer it.
At a recent company meeting, we talked through some ROI calculations for several of our major clients. The conversation started with comments like “I’m an advisor for my clients, how can you quantify my advice?” and “I drop everything I’m doing to help this client, what is that worth?”
But the more we talked it through, the more hard numbers we came up with. By lowering mod scores, we’ve lowered the premiums of many of our clients. By implementing a “scorecard” system for our of our transportation clients, we increased productivity by 20%. These are the kind of numbers that a decision maker can take to their CFO. Highlighting the dollar value of your results provides the transparency and accountability that today's consumers have come to expect.
While the emotional side of the equation remains extremely important, appeal to the customers’ rational side as well. A strong relationship that is cemented with hard numbers and facts isn't going anywhere.Which side of the equation do you think weighs more heavily in making business decisions: Emotional or Rational?