It’s Christmas time: Black Friday is behind us and the shops are aglow with the sights and sounds of Christmas past, present and yet to come.
There are just a few short shopping days to endure until the Boxing day sales; which if previous years are anything to go by will merge seamlessly into the New Year discounting period….
Oh wait! Is there a theme here? Are we so bound up in short-term survival mode that we can’t see beyond the discount tickets at the end of our nose? Has shopping and customer service degenerated to be nothing more than a game of price reduction roulette? And if the answer is yes then what does that say not only about society in general but also about the way in which the customer contract has been corrupted?
Does it really have to be like this? In the spirit of the golden rule which states that we should treat others in the same way that we would want to be treated ourselves perhaps it’s time for a bit of quiet reflection. Maybe as we sit down and reshape the strategy and vision for 2019 we should look to rebuild the customer contract in a more meaningful way.
That’s not to say that we shouldn’t continue to look to deliver good price points. But price should only be one small element of an overall package which delivers year round value. With that in mind, what else could you put in your customers’ Christmas stockings this year that would deliver year-round mutual benefits?
Let’s start with offering a real and meaningful dialogue. That’s the one in which you stop trying to tell customers what you think they need and start listening. Building a true understanding of what would make a difference for your customers not only helps to build marketable products, it also helps to engender customer loyalty.
Then how about adding a dash of customer outlook across the organisation? True customer service doesn’t start and end at the checkout. By ensuring that every process and every decision are taken with customers in mind you can deliver a seamless experience which is uniformly positive.
And why not stir in a leadership focus which looks to empower your people whilst helping them to optimise their skills and abilities? That not only leads to across the board engagement with the strategy it also means that your people have the tools to deliver great customer experiences.
Finally, let’s wrap up our offering with a culture of trust. All this discounting has served to make people cynical about whether sales deliver true discounts or are exploitative in some way. When you are true to your values, when you deliver good products which meet a real need at a fair price then the customer contract strengthens.
Is a discount all you have to offer? Customer focused or not maybe at this time of goodwill we could all take a moment to re-imagine the spirit of customer relationships.
About Helen Green
Helen is a collaborator, a deadline demon and a diplomat. She is often described by her colleagues and clients as the glue in their projects. She can be contacted via www.
After a degree in Hotel & Catering Management at Surrey University, she worked for 10 years with Whitbread, Bass and the Forte Group, gaining broad business experience in operations, communications, senior management and franchising. This eclectic experience reinforced Helen’s belief in the untapped potential in people and the importance of strong values in business and has formed the foundations of her subsequent career.
Helen worked for 10 years in business consulting with Tom Peters Company, as senior consultant and Partner, before co-founding Quest Leadership in 2007.
During her consulting career, Helen has worked at all levels, with individuals and teams, to initiate and facilitate personal development. Recent clients include: LSG Skychefs, Aim Aviation, Leica Geosystems, Texas Instruments, EnOcean, Gripple Ltd..
Helen’s competitive streak has driven her to compete at county level in badminton, and squash and equestrian eventing. Helen’s non-work interests centre on family, friends, cooking and sport.