Ah KPI’s, three letters that would strike fear into the heart of my eighteen-year-old self. I was working part-time in a shoe shop when I first got acquainted with the idea and I hated it. Now I realise I actually just hated selling discounted shoe polish – however, the dread of KPI’s stayed with me for years.
Luckily, I spent much of my career working in small businesses – and in almost ten years, I didn’t come across them once. The idea might have been mentioned by senior managers once or twice, I would spend a week or two secretly fretting – and nothing would come of it. The organisations normally believed they were too small to need them. Working in small teams with limited resources, the day to day tasks always seemed to be most important.
However, now that I am old, wiser (and braver) I have come to love KPI’s.
Even the smallest of SME businesses have some sort of target they want to hit. This may be monetary in nature or not.
Say, for example, you wanted to reduce complaints by 50% on the previous years.
You had spoken to or retrained your staff. You had streamlined processes more than you thought possible.
And at the end of the year complaints had reduced – but only by 40%. What went wrong?
It can be incredibly hard to work out what went wrong when doing so in retrospect. And that is why KPI can be so useful.
They can be used to make sure you are still on track or if you need to make adjustments.
Let’s go back to the idea of reducing complaints.
Say you want to reduce complaints from 100 within 12months to only 50 complaints over a 12 month period.
If you hit the six-month mark and have already reached 38 complaints, it tells you that you need to make adjustments quickly or you risk missing the target.
When resources are limited and deadlines are tight creating KPI’s can seem more trouble than it’s worth but they do not need to be time-consuming or complex.
As long as you know what you want to measure and how they can be as simple as saying “no more than 25 complaints within 6 months”
If your KPI’s are connected to marketing and you need advice, feel free to make use of our free weekly email clinic.
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