Dave Gardner’s “Thank God It’s Monday” 21MAR11

“Thank God It’s Monday” is to help companies thrive!

This week’s focus: business execution

Wei Yen, a well-known and highly-respected Silicon Valley software architect and entrepreneur, offered the following insight back when he was with Silicon Graphics about resolving business process issues:

“Sometimes, when things are a bit broken, they need to become a little bit more broken before they can get fixed.”

Here’s a great example illustrating Wei’s insight from a FastCompany.com article:

Groupon Client Goes Public With Beef at SXSW, Staffers Scramble

Sunday’s Groupon panel on the Fast Company and PepsiCo stage took an unexpected turn when Travis Kalanick, a longtime Silicon Valley entrepreneur who runs online car service Uber, spoke frankly about his negative experiences as a client of Groupon–and several Groupon staffers in the audience took issue with the story he told.

The panel was framed as a post-game discussion of Groupon’s own panel on its creative, quality-based approaches to marketing and copywriting, which are helping the company keep market share in the face of an army of clones. But it quickly got real.

“In marketing, in the stories you tell, you guys are nothing but winning,” Kalanick said. “But there is such a disconnect with operations.” He said that Groupon representatives had promised him primary placement and not delivered, didn’t run the offer on the dates he wanted, handed him a data dump in a clunky Excel spreadsheet, and gave him an initial estimate of proceeds from the offer that was ten times higher than what the group deal actually delivered. “That’s money I spent to put cars on the road that we didn’t need.”

Darren Schwartz, Groupon’s SVP of sales, above, grabbed a mike in the middle of the panel to respond that Groupon’s hiring a team of merchant managers to improve the oversight process from sales to the completion of an offer.

“The reality is that Travis has identified the same stuff we have,” Schwartz told Fast Company afterward. “We need to merge our marketing excellence with our operations excellence and get it all to the same level.” They’re rolling out new tools to help local businesses better track their ROI from each offer.

Groupon’s business execution is undermining relationships with customers. The gap in operational excellence is undermining customer relationships—and, in a very public forum.

Customer pain doesn’t have to be a catalyst to moving forward with solutions that are, often, all too obvious. Bad customer experiences open the door to the competition and market share loss. Proactively taking action to eliminate bad customer experiences will ensure your company thrives.

Thought for the week:

“I think it’s a shame that we teach children everything about the world, but, we don’t teach them how to take part in the world, how to realize an idea, how to measure the consequences of their actions, how to take a knock, and how to share their success. What kind of world have we built, that people can use the phrase, ‘it’s just business’ without challenge or contradiction?” – Sir Richard Branson, Business Stripped Bare

Note: What do you think? I welcome your blog comments!


Dave Gardner, Gardner & Associates Consulting http://www.gardnerandassoc.com

© 2011 Gardner & Associates Consulting  All Rights Reserved

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