There was once a grocery store that carried a stunning selection of great food. Fresh produce, eclectic imports, organic rarities… you name it, you could find it in this store.
The problems started to happen after you found what you wanted, when you tried to find the cash register to check out. A sign pointed you to the entrance of a labyrinth, through which you wound back and forth, like you would in line for a popular ride at Disneyworld. Finally, you exited the end of the labyrinth, to find yourself in front of a cobweb-ridden, unmanned cash register in the back of the store. After a few minutes, a clerk arrived and started to ring you up. He complained that the keys on his cash register were sticking, smacked the drawer to get it to open, gave you your change, and said, “Next.”
It's clear that a grocery store like this wouldn't stay in business for very long. But many companies do things very similar to this grocery store, making it very difficult for customers to use their “cash registers.”
Every company has cash registers. If you aren't in a retail business, your cash registers don't look like those in a store. Nonetheless, you have cash registers.
Cash registers are a business's customer touchpoints that most influence profitable revenue generation, because they are touchpoints that strongly influence customers' buying behaviors. When the cash registers are operating well, the company makes more money. When the cash registers aren't operating well, the company makes less money.
Here are a few examples of cash registers:
- In a restaurant, the waiters and waitresses are cash registers. If they are able to engage the restaurant's guests in a way that encourage the guests to buy more, pay more, visit more and rave more to friends, the restaurant's performance will improve. But if the waiters and waitresses serve the guests ineffectually and transactionally, acting as mere 'servers,' the restaurant's financial performance will suffer.
- In a clothing store, cash registers are found not only at the checkout aisle. The salespeople on the floor have the ability to significantly influence the attitudes and purchases of customers, which, in turn, have a significant influence on the store's business results.
- A beverage distributor's route drivers are cash registers, because they have the opportunity, many times a day, to interact with people working in retail stores, building relationships with them and identifying opportunities for additional sales.
- In an insurance agency, the well-dressed, highly-compensated salespeople are not the only cash registers. The humble account managers, bound to their telephones, dealing with clients' day-to-day issues, can be very effective cash registers if they are able to spot opportunities to sell clients additional services. Important point: the account managers don't need to close sales to be effective cash registers; identifying opportunities and bringing them to sales people can have a powerful effect on profitable revenue generation.
The art of profitable revenue generation relies heavily on the calibrating of cash registers. How well are your cash registers calibrated? Are they operating smoothly, creating profitable revenue for your company? Or, are they in a sloppy state, out of order and limiting your results?
Calibrating your cash registers requires some important steps:
Identify your cash registers
Sales people are conspicuous cash registers, and a well-tuned salesforce can do wonders for your financial performance. But, in countless consulting projects, I have seen valuable cash registers hidden in inside sales departments, undervalued customer service departments, and field support departments. Don't miss your hidden revenue generators.
Understand how your cash registers impact customer behavior
You don't create your profits; your customers do. Your customers' actions are the direct drivers of your results, so be sure to understand, deeply, how your cash registers impact customer behavior. Are the customer support people able to impact customer renewal rates? Are the waiters and waitresses able to encourage customers to buy more wine and desserts? How do on-site installation technicians impact customer loyalty?
Put your cash registers at the center of your organization
The experiences customers have when they come in contact with your cash registers have everything to do with how much they buy, how much they are willing to pay, how loyal they become, and how much they tell other people good things about your company.
Build your organization around your revenue-generating areas, ensuring that the rest of the organization is set up to support them as they do their important work of generating profitable revenue.
Don't be like the grocery store described in the story above. Calibrate your cash registers, and enjoy the profitable revenue that comes your way.