It’s a challenge just to contemplate it, let alone address it.
Which is more challenging?
The magnitude of change, or the rapidity of it?
In Australian politics the prevailing belief is that like public transport, one shouldn’t chase a Prime Minister, because a new one will come along in five minutes.
Both are questionable propositions.
Moreover, at a time when society and commerce need a change of direction the signs are not encouraging.
Structures, business models, policies, processes and practices seem welded in similar ways to the status quo.
Disrupters are generally lauded.
Most are not successful or rewarded.
Intent is abundant.
Achievement of effective, efficient and sustainable change is less so.
Disruption does not necessarily imply new.
Indeed, in an overwhelming percentage of instances it is about difference.
The genesis of most disruption is within entities, communities and sectors.
Imagine-: Insiders who have the audacity to think and to perceive differently.
Typically, they encounter resistance and blockages wedded to established thinking.
A new year, 2019, accords us all a new opportunity to embrace change and disruption.
All agendas, be they for strategic plans, sales, marketing, training, education and wealth creation should have two leading issues.
The consequential outcomes are exciting:
- Think it
- Say it
- Do it
Have a great Christmas. Enjoy the festive season.
Revel in having a happy holiday.
Love your family.
Be proud of your nation.
Contribute to your community.
And, don’t preclude any.
Warmly embrace all… together, with change and disruption.
2. MARKETPLACE FORESIGHTS, INSIGHTS AND REFLECTIONS
During the next ten weeks Barry Urquhart will be delivering customised keynote presentations to invited guests of differing financial planning, insurance broking, real estate, accounting and property development entities.
Providing extra value and deeper appreciation of the dynamic forces of disruption, digital marketing and change are bottom-line advantages, benefits and rewards of their unique, tailored addresses.
It’s a win-win scenario. Host businesses are enjoying, – and banking – increased volume, much of it from new, responsive clients and customers.
Contact Barry Urquhart
3. CONFUSION – THE MARKET LEADER WINS – EVERY TIME
Traditionally, when confusion has reigned, inertia, procrastination and the status quotended to prevail and persist.
And typically, the winner was the market leader.
Consciously, and subconsciously, people (read: consumers) do like to make informed decisions. It is reassuring to do so, and the consequences, are well, more predictable and therefore acceptable! Consequently stability is, to many, a preferred marketplace circumstance.
Sadly, too few individuals, couples and families have the experience, knowledge, and capacity to retrieve credible information on which to make reasoned decisions, particularly during periods of rapid change… – and confusion.
The tendency has been to revert to established practices and to seek out recognised and previously utilised brand names, products and services.
THE NEW ORDER
Digital disruption is effecting significant strategic and structural change, by subjecting established practices, perceptions and mores to question. That is creating confusion, raising questions and importantly, providing self-determined answers.
When only one source provides answers to questions put by themselves, a natural new order of leadership evolves. Move over, long-established inert market leaders.
Many leaders of established businesses and sectors have become unsettled. Set patterns and practices have been usurped by the innate questioning of values by disruptors who have overcome confusion and provided conclusions, packaged as preferred options.
Now, that is smart. Create confusion and provide vision and insights on a new playing field.
4. SOCIAL MEDIA IS ANTI-SOCIAL
A medium or sets of media which are referred to as social, tend to be anti-social for many of its users.
On-line communications and interactions facilitate more repeated contacts, reflected in the commendable number of “hits” that are recorded, and often boasted about.
However, with many social media realities it is a matter of “hit and miss”. What is missing most is the personal contact of face-to-face interactions.
Therefore, labels like friends and hits are very superficial.
Relationships – if any – are shallow or non-existent.
When knowledge and familiarisation with others are limited to social media there is a noticeable lack of confidence, trust and integrity.
That is not disrespectful; just don’t expect a lot of meaningful reality, recommendations and referrals.
Hence, in the contemporary digital era, omni-channel and multi-channel marketing necessarily requires investment of resources in the complementary, long-established mass media of radio, television, print, outdoor, reinforced with commitment to personal and phone contacts with those whom you wish to establish, develop and sustain mutually rewarding relationships.
Otherwise, it is a matter of hit, and miss.
The latter points highlight the presence of significant lost opportunities.
POST Script: For those who have few social media friends – relax you’re not missing much, just many.
5. BIG DATA – LITTLE RETURNS
Big-Data and Meta-Data have a collective noun – Dumb-Data.
Increasingly, large, medium and small entities, that have invested considerable sums, and deployed numerous resources in capital equipment to capture, retrieve and collate personal data from clients and customers, have come to recognise their inability to convert that information into intelligence.
Among the consequences; relationships have been fractured, loyalty has waned and sensitivities have been heightened about “invasions of privacy”.
Customer satisfaction has plateaued, if not declined; many of the matrices which are being surveyed and quantified are limited and narrow-focused.
They are only providing glimpses of the total customer experience.
Beyond the personalised salutation, there is sparse intimacy and individualisation with the algorithm-generated texts.
Key-words, highlighted brand names and products are featured prominently, identified by the capacity and capabilities of Big-Data and Meta-Data capital equipment.
Each scores well and is prioritised by the innate technological processes.
Figuratively, the algorithms salivate.
Lacking most is the emotionalism which connects with, and elicits responses from the primary, secondary and tertiary human target audiences.
What is needed is Smart-Data – those that are sensitive to, responsive about and evocative to human emotions.
That alone stimulates interest, generates demand and influences purchase decisions.
If these case studies reflect your experiences, then in one sense, you are not alone.
It’s common among well-intentioned businesses.
On the other hand, you are justified in feeling alone, as customers desert you.
6. A SERVICE TO CLIENTS – BETTER PROSPECTS
Service excellence has at least seven components (matrices), four of which are structural, strategic and cultural in nature.
Addressing each and all has an enviable record of enhancing service to internal and external customers.
Enhanced integration, cohesion, stability and mutual respect are among the most palpable outcomes.
The fundamental issues do not solely relate to talking the talk and walking the walk.
They are the essential core values, which are in most instances not recognised, included in service surveys, and therefore, not measured.
“What gets measured gets done” is a mantra which still prevails.
With service, many entities suffer because they lack a good measure on what constitutes service excellence.
7. FIRED WITH ENTHUSIASM OR, BE FIRED, WITH ENTHUSIASM
A recent article in the Sydney Morning Herald reported about a letter distributed to Optus staff members by the Chief Executive Officer.
The message was succinct and pointed.
In essence, it declared that those staff members who made customers unhappy would be sacked, if and when it was referred to the boss.
There appeared to be six degrees of separation with the mythical statement made by a Roman centurion:
The whippings will continue until morale improves
WAS IT NECESSARY?
The need for such communication was questionable, – if the “right” people had been recruited, inducted into a universal, supportive team ambience – and then trained, developed and inculcated into a positive service excellence corporate culture.
It is a challenge.
Some 24% of the adult Australian workforce has the appropriate psychological profile and attributes to be great service providers.
Identifying, isolating, recruiting, inducting, celebrating and rewarding them is imperative.
Such individuals are self-monitors and consistent enforcers of the service standards of peers, and among their own internal customers.
“We don’t do things that way” is a very powerful statement of values, intent and self-worth.
It comes naturally to a “driven” service provider.
CAUSE, EFFECT OR VICTIM
Telecommunication campaigns rank second highest among client (corporate) and customer (consumer) complaints received by regulatory authorities, after banks.
Everyone, it seems, has a story – or an experience – to share about a bank and/or a telco.
Significantly, in both sets of instances, policies, processes, procedures and technology are primary causes of annoyance, frustration, exasperation and yes, “unhappiness”.
In short, the cause and issue are often determined and experienced before personal interactions with a service provider.
Indeed, they too may well be a victim of the operating business model which has been formulated, implemented and measured by the Chief Executive Officer, and the senior management team.
In facilitating interactive workshops for in-house sessions of “Service that Satisfies SELLS”, care is taken to explain the context and content when dealing with the typical “customer from hell”.
The issue at hand is often not the issue at hand is a key and fundamental principle.
Condescending and personal outbursts are often the consequences of unrelated, precedent experiences.
In-store perceived or real deficiencies can be a trigger that compounds an earlier instance of road rage, a domestic argument or difficulty in finding a parking bay.
Sometimes, minor shortcomings and infractions are the trigger that “breaks the camel’s back”.
The current Australian finance, insurance and service sector Royal Commission has revealed, highlighted, and forensically analysed appalling instances of the neglect, abuse and contempt of customers.
Deficient and inappropriate corporate cultures and staff member reward systems have been uncovered and roundly criticised.
Employment contracts have been terminated, and career paths shattered.
Moreover, consumer rights have been profiled, and accordingly, expectations and demands have been heightened, sharpened and are being pursued by a more sensitised customer and client base.
There has been a recorded 35% increase in complaints submitted to the telecommunications industry regulatory authority.
Clearly, for all and sundry, there is no place to hide.
Service excellence is a non-negotiable performance indicator.
Fine-print provisions are no protection.
Simplicity, focus, transparency and accountability are dominant driving forces in a challenging and challenged marketplace.
Concerns about the surging increments in the costs of power and public utility services including water, sewerage and rubbish removal… are being addressed by politicians, governments and regulatory authorities.
Comparative cost charts are being drafted, distributed and applied to the advantage of the consuming public and business sectors.
However, consumers’ satisfaction languishes.
Some 25 years ago Cathay Pacific, the Hong Kong-based international airline, learnt about and profited from the advantages of simplifying the value-package and retail cost offerings.
Little wonder, the success is in delivery.
“32 European destinations –1 price”
Easy to comprehend, to assess value and to be satisfied.
No-one was going to get a better deal.
A major concern and annoyance to customers is the lack of follow-up and follow-through once a sale or service issue has been successfully concluded.
A personal expression of “thank you” is a strikingly effective relationship enhancer.
Such sentiments and emotions are noticeably absent in the many transaction experiences that typify the prevailing digital marketplace.
For most entities there are eight to ten matrices that define a total positive customer experience (read: great customer service).
These arise before the initial face-to-face (voice-to-voice) interaction, and then evolve following the conclusion of the transaction or issue resolution.
Appropriately and consequentially applied, these factors ensure customer satisfaction and negate the need to distribute letters threatening the sack for infractions which, supposedly, result in customers being “unhappy”.
Structure, discipline, belief and enthusiasm contribute to a corporate culture which provides delight for all … Chief Executive Officers included.
SUMMARY OF KEY POINTS
- Document a detailed job description – specified duties.
- Script a job specification – outline essential human attributes.
- Recruit discerningly – match profiles with individuals.
- Induct into a comprehensive service culture.
- Support, reinforce and celebrate consistent service delivery.
- Empower. Delegate authority to self-monitor and self-regulate behaviours.
- Reward consistent standards.
- Embrace P.R.I.D.E. – personal responsibility for delivering excellence.
- Insist on “one-touch” service.
- Provide on-going customer feedback, and training.
Barry Urquhart of Marketing Focus is an internationally respected business strategist, consumer behaviour analyst and conference keynote speaker.