Testing Our Resilience and View of the Future

It’s difficult to see the opportunities as I sit in my Christchurch office listening to business people as they share their challenges. I’m sure some will understandably throw in the towel after this latest quake, some will be praying for a hand up from the Government. However there will be others who will see this tragedy as an opportunity to look at what the have, look at what they have been doing and just take a couple of steps back and ask the question “what could my business look like going forward”?

There is no doubt that some organisations are embracing change better today than they ever have. That’s because change, rapid change is becoming the norm, however some are still hanging on to the “good old days’ the recent demise of Whitcoulls & Borders are good examples.

Technology is driving this change, our buying behaviour and the choices we now have as customers. This is why it’s even more important that organisations in Christchurch just take a minute (and preferably a lot longer) to look at where they will be in the future and how different that future will be from what they are doing right now.

There is one certainty that companies can bank on and that is future growth and profitability will be closely aligned to the consistent quality of its customer & employee experience.

The experiences we have both at work and as customers regardless of where and how they occur, including the increasing move to e-commerce will determine employee engagement and the resulting impact on productivity, customer loyalty, word of mouth recommendation and the ability to attract the right people to an organisation.

So if I can add just one thing that may help a Christchurch business. Review your current customer experience performance from the customer’s perspective. At the end of the day it all comes down to the choice your people make everyday regarding the quality of customer experience they deliver.

What this means is every decision you make in your business must in some way be focused on your vision, the motivation and resources you provide your people, that enables them to work their magic at your front counter and throughout the operation.

We have put together a successful formula which clearly shows how this outcome is achieved:-

• Involvement = Engagement

• Engagement = Commitment

• Commitment = Loyalty

• Loyalty = increased productivity

• Increased productivity delivers the growth & profitability

Technology is driving how we do business and how we act as customers and in many cases technology is doing away with human contact. Just look at the check-in process at most airports as an example. However, we can be certain that human contact will not disappear. Technology will continue to play a major role in making our lives easier and more convenient and replace those interactions that were never that great anyhow like the queuing at the airport check-in or at the bank. Rest assured we still prefer to speak to a real person on the phone, we still want the option of interacting with a real person via a website and we still prefer in many cases face to face contact with customer centric organisations that have our interest top of mind.

There are many things we can be certain of regarding the future of business. Recessions will come and go, supply and demand will continue to fluctuate, and how and where we work will continue to change. But one certainty you can bank on, is that just talking about the importance of your people and customers to your business will not cut it. Action must follow the words.