High-Performing Culture Through the Eyes of Your Customers
Even prior to the many challenges of last year, the number of commercial printing establishments has been declining as the demand for traditional printed products continues to change. The most recent Printing Impressions list of the top companies by volume has contracted to become the PI 350. No surprise as the wave of company consolidations, sales, roll-ups, tuck-ins, and yes, plant closings continue.
While one would think that fewer companies would mean less competition, the opposite is true. The competitive nature of the industry is stronger than ever. Business owners and senior executives continue to search for ways their business can create and sustain differentiation and build a competitive advantage. Many cite product offerings, new technology, enhanced marketing, product quality and on-time delivery as unique capabilities. But competitors are increasingly upping their game in these areas, so the differentiation gap becomes narrower. What to do?
The Competitive Edge Profile offers some compelling insights. This 22-item questionnaire includes 16 standard questions that address areas of particular importance to printing customers. These include issues like prompt deliveries, range of products and services, product quality, and clear and helpful invoices (yes, this is an important issue for customers; when did you last review your invoices for clarity and conciseness?).
While these items matter, they are among the easiest for competitors to replicate and improve. However, research has shown that the people-centered items are the ones that create the greatest and most sustainable differentiation. These survey items address the extent to which your people offer ideas, information, and advice, understand the customer’s business, are readily accessible, demonstrate a high degree of professional competency and courtesy, and offer prompt problem solving when needed. In other words, the byproduct of a high-performing culture is high levels of customer satisfaction and differentiation. And while your competitors can replicate many product-related characteristics it is quite difficult for another organization to copy your positive, customer-focused culture.
High-performing cultures are not created overnight. They require close attention and purposeful planning. For more information on ways your business can strengthen and improve your company culture, contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Joseph P. Truncale, Ph.D., CAE, is the Founder and Principal of Alexander Joseph Associates, a privately held consultancy specializing in executive business advisory services with clients throughout the graphic communications industry.
Joe spent 30 years with NAPL, including 11 years as President and CEO. He is an adjunct professor at NYU teaching graduate courses in Executive Leadership; Financial Management and Analysis; Finance for Marketing Decisions; and Leadership: The C Suite Perspective. He may be reached at Joe@ajstrategy.com. Phone or text: (201) 394-8160.