“With less than 100 days to the start of the Olympics, already we’re experiencing a mix of excitement and enthusiasm coupled with anger and anxiety. Being British, we take it upon ourselves to find a negative angle and have no difficulty imagining this huge UK-wide festival to be a downright disruptive influence on our summer traffic flows and an unnecessary drain on our GDP.
However, I have a very different view. Which retailer wouldn't want millions (yes, millions) more customers coming to their town in July, spending a total of more than £17 billion? How many other countries would jump at the opportunity of showcasing their brands to a global audience But here's the rub. Many of our retailers will be providing the same, if not worse, levels of customer service to all these millions of new customers, who will then go back to their respective homes and talk about their experiences. How often do we see appalling customer service at Christmas parties, with the common reply being 'we were too busy to cope'? (which in itself is bizarre...it's not as if Christmas is a new phenomenon nobody saw coming).
This is our chance to provide all customers, both regulars and first-timers, with an outstanding experience. In the advent of social media, the knock-on effect of word-of-mouth can make or break a business in over the next 24-36 months. Let's use the time now to ensure all staff are fully trained and get into the swing of the party that we fought tooth and nail to host. In a struggling economy, this is an opportunity we can't afford to pass up.”