An independent, third-party observer can see things that those within a system may not. By looking at the parts from the perspective of the whole, you can more accurately develop a plan for efficiency, training, while developing policies and procedures that make the entire system more functional, robust, and productive.
Analysis of cancellation data for developing a training concept
The name of the company and product have been changed to protect confidentiality.
The Company provided just over nine months of data showing the number of cancellations they have had, how long the cancelling customer had been with the Company, and the reason for their cancellation. The data was reduced to only those that cancelled within 60 days, since the number of customer’s cancelling drops off significantly then.
In nine months, there were over 4,600 cancellations. This number also represents the cancelling of one plan to upgrade or downgrade to another.
Of the 4,600 cancellations, over 2,700 cancellations were within 60 days of sign-up, 400 were subscription changes. 60%, or 1,760, cancellations were within 30 days.
The largest set of reasons for cancellation was due to “expectations.” Expectations was determined by statements such as “I don’t have time,” “I finished my site,” and “bad experience.” Each of these show that the customer had a different expectation of the Product’s purpose and value after a short interaction with Product agents, than what their expectation was when they first purchased it.
The second largest set of cancellations within both 30 and 60 days was due to sales issues. This was measured with comments such as “I can’t afford it,” “I didn’t understand what I was buying,” “I was sold the wrong service,” “I didn’t know it was a recurring charge,” and it was included as a part of a bundle. This shows that sales agents are confused or ill informed regarding this Product.
The data shows that there are two things that need to be addressed regarding training: Product agents setting expectations with customers from the beginning and sales agents understanding the Product they are selling.
Training Product agents requires two foundational foci. The first is a standardized “Welcome Call” for each new customer. A previous task analysis of agent work shows that there is not a consistent process whereby agents are addressing new customers, which could be a factor in the high attrition rate. There needs to be training developed for current agents on how to handle a customer’s first call. The Welcome Call will be the vehicle for setting expectations with customers on exactly how the Product functions and the time to use it.
The second focus is ingraining the setting of expectations in new Product agents in their onboarding training. This can satisfy two needs:
- ingraining the use of the Welcome Call in each agent as a standard to adhere to when working with customers
- ingraining the need to use critical thinking skills to assist customers
The new Product Agent Onboarding will follow the format of a Welcome Call and will develop the agent to not only quickly understand the needs of the customers, but to also empower them with using their critical thinking skills when assisting customers with their questions. This training will also teach new agents how to understand the Product’s intuitive design, troubleshoot problems a customer may be having with the different Product features, and establish the value of the Product to reduce cancellations.
Excerpt from a marketing plan for a law enforcement services non-profit, referred to as the Organization.
Online Marketing Suggestions & Strategies
The Organization’s market
The Organization is a unique organization. The three competitors listed are the closest competition to the Organization, there are other companies that are similar to these three, but more focused and specific in their target market. Each of the competitors listed are primarily law enforcement, but the Organization works with the whole of public safety, military, and private security. No other company appeals to the breadth of market that the Organization does or the totality of the three industries. There may be some overlap between military and public safety, more on the side of law enforcement, and some in fire/rescue and emergency medical as well. However, private security is rarely, if ever, included in any of the overlap between constituent industries or is included in consideration of the issues that the Organization addresses because of cultural distrust, perception, and nature of organization: private vs. public.
The Organization’s market, therefore, is broad as well as challenging. In all cases the demographics tend to be majority male, late-20s to mid-50s, white, and in midlevel command positions. They also tend to range in education from high school to graduate school, with the ages distributed among the level of education. The majority have some college and range from entry-level to command positions. Those with only a high school education are younger and in low-level positions and those with graduate school are usually much older than the norm and in positions of command. The Organization has products and services that represent the full spectrum of each demographic, such as courses for academies to start the change in paradigm to executive level courses which provide information that can aid in making strategic decisions. However, the majority of products and services are targeted toward midlevel command/middle management (MLC/MM) and the demographics of the personnel who fall into this level.
Targeting the demographics of the midlevel command is a tactical maneuver. Experience and understanding of the market has shown that those in the MLC/MM are the ones that influence decision making for an agency and influence the personnel that would be impacted by their decisions. Typically it is left to the MLC/MM to determine the needs of their subordinates, research solutions, then present the problem, the solutions, and the options for obtaining the solution desired. The MLC/MM is the “change manager” for an agency or company, so the Organization targets this group specifically for marketing.
This demographic is also the group who dictates expenses. They are expected to provide a cost, justify the expense, and find a way to fund acquisitions in products and services. For this reason, they have a very particular style of research that the Organization understands, and thus addresses in the marketing materials it creates.
SWOT analysis for a rental photography studio in Virginia.
- Versatility in shooting set ups: Box 107 is large enough to bring in vehicles for shooting and has a ramp and overhead door to accommodate vehicles and unloading/loading of equipment; Box 108 contains multiple shooting stations for variety in look and feel of photographs. Provides a flexible, uncluttered work environment. Both studios can be opened to each other, providing flexibility in space, which is especially important in catalog creation.
- Amenities such as lights, private changing/makeup rooms, a private bathroom adjacent to each studio, separate reception areas for each studio, and a kitchenette are included in the price.
- Experience in photography, graphic arts, advertising and marketing, including studio photography, to teach and assist clients as well as understand their needs.
- Location convenient to interstate highway, airports, and Amtrak station. Professional photographers don’t mind the travel and really like the quiet location and parking.
- Safe and pleasant location in an office park with plenty of free parking available.
- Flexible hours, simple pricing structure, networking with other creatives and talent.
- Inexpensive support services such as catering, hotel and limo services.
- “Undiscovered country.” High-end advertising, photography, film and videography professionals like having new, undiscovered areas and talent.
- Dedication to customer service to exceed clients’ expectations.
- A Dun and Bradstreet number and SECRET security clearances of three of the partners, which will be an asset to obtaining government contracts.
- Location outside of metropolitan Washington, D.C. Local novice and middle level photographers and models aren’t as willing to travel as the pros.
- Marketing has been restricted to web presence and word-of-mouth due to limited personal capital.
- Bookings dependent on client needs.
- Limited add-on opportunities and advanced equipment for higher-level photographers.
- No lighting equipment for videographers.
- Studios are too “echoey” for commercial-quality videography projects.
- Currently, limited partner income for expansion, marketing and development of additional services.
- Purchase of two difficult-to-acquire high-end cameras, one of which professional photographers would expect to be available at a high-end professional studio:
- A Hasselblad H3D 50 medium-format camera-professional-grade commercial camera
- A Panoscan 360o panoramic digital camera
- Acquisition of high-end lighting equipment for both video and still photography.
- Acquisition of Apple laptops for expanding classes and for offering digital processing and printing services.
- A growing reputation among photographers, videographers, and others for a quality, versatile space suitable for many uses.
- 1.3 million additional photographers by 2016, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics National Employment Matrix.
- There are no Panoscans commercially available between New York City, Miami and Chicago. The three in the area are owned by the FBI, which has an extensive waiting list for their use by other federal agencies.
- There is a large market for Photoshop and photography training that is going unmet. Local colleges either require enrollment for intensive, expensive classes or have open classes that are too simple to be of much use.
- Potential for increased rental studio competition in the DC/Maryland/Virginia (DMV) region.
- Continuing economic downturn affecting non-professional photographers and, to a lesser extent, professional photographers’ project budgets.
- Demise of local photography pro-shops reduces local exposure.
I would enjoy the opportunity to asses your processes, plans, and policies
to help you have a more efficient and productive business!