Monday Morning Memo – Becoming Customer-centric

Good morning!  We mention the Customer a lot in our Strategic Plan:  “customer loyalty”, “customer-centric project management”, “passionate about our customers”, “customer partners”, “superior customer experience”, etc.  We’ve decided – and stated – that we drive a customer-centric business model.  But do we?  Well . . . pretty much . . . some times . . . sort of.  The bottom line is that we are not consistent.  We are not yet a customer-centric organization.

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First, we need to understand what it means to be customer-centric.  Does it mean that the customer is always right?  I’m afraid that even this phrase gets misinterpreted.  Customers can oftentimes be “wrong”.  But a customer-centric model is designed to eliminate this possibility from the equation.  The key to customer-centricity is to be 100% clear in what it is the customer wants and needs, and then building a solution around that.    Customer-centricity also extends beyond the party that we view as our “customer”.  It needs to permeate our organization to affect internal customers, suppliers, and our communities.  In contrast, I would say that we have historically been service-centric.  This means that we’ve built solutions around a service and driven these solutions to as many customers as possible.  There is nothing inherently wrong with this model, but have no doubt delivering excellent service to a customer and being customer-centric are two very different things.

So should we be customer-centric?  The answer that I believe to my core is . . . YES!  There are few absolute certainties in life and business.  However, one of those certainties is that things are going to change over time.  Every product or service offered is on a race to commoditization from the day it is first introduced.  A service-centric approach can deliver great value to the market, but its life is limited.  Others will capture the capability to deliver the same service, and the value shrivels as it becomes a commodity.  Customer-centricity requires nimbleness, creativity, understanding, and a true passion for the customer.  Systems and processes are built around the customer and are constantly reevaluated to ensure that the customer is still receiving the highest value.   In our strategic plan, we also mention sustainability, scalable growth, and succession.  I believe that customer-centricity is the cornerstone of all three.

As we spend this year reevaluating our systems, processes, and metrics, keep customer-centricity in mind.  It is a paradigm shift that will require commitment and hard work to make.  But rest assured that we are working toward building the organization that our current and future customers will value above our competition.  Have a great week!

Dave Foellinger – President/COO

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Monday Morning Memo – Process as a Strategic Objective

Good morning!  As you know, we have a Strategic Objective to define and improve our processes throughout the company and design them to  deliver superior customer experiences.  Processes can be a funny thing – sort of a double-edged sword.  On the one hand, they are absolutely critical in order to have clear role definition, clearly understood accountability expectations, and most importantly consistent and excellent service delivery.  That all sounds great, and those reasons are precisely the reasons why it is so important that we excel at this objective.  The Achilles’ heel to process (the other edge of the sword) is that they can create a “that’s not my job” attitude or an inflexibility to customer needs.  Both of these are cancers and cannot be allowed to exist at JLG.

As we work through our processes this year, it is important to keep the ultimate goal in mind – does this process help us do it right the first time – EVERY TIME?  That is what is most important.  Process and role definition are critical, but only so everyone in the company understands the plan.  Things will happen along the way where a team member stumbles or a road block is created at some point in the process.  When this happens, it is EVERYONE’S job to get us back on track.  We do this FOR THE CUSTOMER!  We cannot allow a mistake or a road block to become even bigger by digging in our heels and refusing to help.  Once we recover from the bump in the road, we should then get right back to following the process.

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I can’t stress enough the importance of doing it right the first time – EVERY TIME!  When we do this, we will immediately differentiate ourselves and build a customer base who is not only happy, but LOYAL!  Process, role clarity, and personal accountability are the cornerstones of delivering superior customer experiences.  When we don’t fall into the trap of hiding behind process in order to escape working through problems, we will be among the best of the best.  Have a great week!

Dave Foellinger – President/COO

How To Add Elements Of Nature Into Your Decor

Winter can be dull, cold, and lacking color, but bringing touches of nature into our homes that are upbeat and bright, can be one way to beat the winter blues. We love to feel welcome, peaceful, and cozy in our home, and bringing in elements of nature can do just that!

Try starting with color. Pantone’s Color of the Year “Greenery,” is one color that can brighten any dreary winter mood. Shades of green in your home can range from olive to emerald to bright green, so your options are limitless and sure to fit your taste. Adding green to your room is a simple and easy way to bring nature into your space; all while creating a space that is buzzing with energy.

We love updating accent pieces in the home when seasons change, as it allows your space to change with the seasons and trends. Replace those orange and purple couch pillows of fall with pillows that have a touch of green in them. Small accent pieces are a safe way to add a color to your room without overwhelming your space.

Did you know that white walls can make your home feel more in-tuned with nature? You are giving your room a blank canvas for design, and not only that, white is bright, energetic, and fresh, which is how we personally want to feel during the winter! For a splash of color, include a potted plant on your dining room table or side tables for actual greenery.

And lastly, one of our favorite, but most extensive ways to bring nature into your home, is with the design elements of brick, stone, and/or wood. Brick and wood panel walls add a raw, rustic feel to your space, while wooden beams truly make you feel as if the outdoors is inside your home.

What additional ways do you enjoy bringing nature into your home décor?

How To Decorate Your Home With Red & Pink

Red and pink are the colors of Valentine’s Day, and while we incorporate these colors into themed home parties, these colors are actually great to use year-round in your décor! We believe that no color should be limited to a holiday, so with that, we share with you our favorite ways to add red and pink in your home.

Red is a color that is often found in interior design, however, you must be mindful of how much or how little you use, as too much red could be overwhelming, or too little of it could simply not be enough for a proper impact.

If you use red as an accent color, it will draw your attention to other furnishings in your home. In this instance, and in the room below, red has the power to enable you to see design and detail outside of the color, such as the details of the below fireplace.

With pink, this color can look awesome and grown-up if and only if the correct shade is used. For a fresh and bright feel to your furniture, use pink accent pillows; this will go a long way in your living room. Pink flowers are simple, low-key, and ideal for giving a neutral room a jolt of energy, while pink artwork can do wonders for a room as the focal point.

When it comes to the shade of pink, a soft, light shade is best to create a calming environment, while a darker pink on your walls or flooring will surely make a statement in a big room, such as your living room or bedroom.

What are your favorite ways to add pink and red to your home interiors?