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Spend dollars on what is “more right” for your customers

Spending dollars on what’s “more right” for your business and your clients is a concept that you really have to get your head around. We often get impassioned about something and, as a result, really want to spend money to improve it. The problem is, if a client isn’t willing to pay more for whatever it is you’re willing to spend that money on, then you really have to question whether there’s a better use for that money. Is there profit there?

For example, while I was sitting right there in the seat you’re probably sitting in, we needed to spend more money to ensure uptime during open enrollment and it was going to cost hundreds of thousands of dollars. If I had listened to my internal management team, we absolutely would have spent that money because it was a critical time for us and for our clients. A client will leave if they’re unhappy.

What happened is, I sent our field folks out to talk to the clients. We wanted to talk about contingency planning with them if this should occur even though we’re not expecting it. What we came back with was that our clients were happy with having a phone-in enrollment or a on-site enrollment should they come into a crunch time where we knew there was going to be possible responsiveness issues on the server. We looked at the costs of what that was going to be compared with the costs of upgrading our servers and it turned out we saved hundreds of thousands of dollars that way – all because we asked the right questions:

  • Do we need to be “more right”?
  • Do we need to be “more better”?

That is not good English, but it is a helpful concept for this idea.

You always want to link everything you’re going to spend to either additional revenues, retention of revenue or reduction of costs to serve, and you want to put a likelihood of the occurrence to that and then ping it against data and facts as often as possible. If you can’t do that, don’t improve it.

At Cognet, when we engage with the client and look at processes, etc., we always link the work we are doing to one of these things:

  • Are we helping improve revenue? It may be a new product or service.
  • Are we helping with retention? It may be a quality issue.
  • Are we just helping with the cost to serve? – Are we lowering it so you can spend dollars somewhere else.

And if we can’t link it to that thing, we don’t do the work. That’s how important it is to us; that’s how important it should be to you.

 

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