A reader writes: “You make a big deal about knowing productivity and the bottom line. My philosophy is that if I take care of the customer, the bottom line will take care of itself. Any comments?”

I totally agree with your premise that we need to take care of the customer and not cut service or quality since these are essential to success in the service industry with today’s competitive market. I also highly recommend that someone in your organization know where you have been, where you are and where you are headed so that there will be fewer surprises and better focus. You can only accomplish that goal if you have some basic metrics.

I have consulted with companies that were so focused on the mission they did not think it important to monitor day labor hours being expended per site nor whether they hit their projected profit margins for the month. I have also seen companies that failed to take into account the reality that their customers were human beings who really did not care about their profit margins and felt slighted when they made a request that might have been a little outside the SOW (Statement of Work).

The true answer is finding balance between being so focused on the bottom line that the customer suffers as opposed to not knowing when to draw a line in the sand and advise the customer that the requested service will cost $XXX.00. This can often be softened by stating since they were a customer in good standing that they would receive an automatic discount of XX percent as a way of saying thanks for their business.

Knowing your bottom line is more important today than ever before since this knowledge can certainly help in planning for the future. Your comments and questions are important. I hope to hear from you soon. Until then, keep it clean...

Mickey Crowe has been involved in the industry for over 35 years. He is a trainer, speaker and consultant. You can reach Mickey at 678-314-2171 or CTCG50@comcast.net