Improving Customer Experience in a recession

June 18, 2012

Post Office Retail AreaWhen you have lots of little issues joining up together, as accident investigators know, that’s the time you get the major headaches.

But how this principle also applies to Customer Care?

Familiarity is a dangerous place.

As I was waiting in a Post Office the other day, somebody clearly thought that placing items for sale next to the queue was a good idea to increase sales.

And it was.

However as with most things, an idea isn’t enough. You must be able to effectively put it into practice. As you can see from the photograph that’s where they came unstuck. The display is dull, dreary, old fashioned, has no prices and also has a very uninspired product range. So, a good idea looks worse than not doing anything at all. Retail guru Mary Portas would have had a fit.

Combined with this mediocrity was grim and uninspiring décor and the place was filthy dirty.

And to top it all, there were a pile of customer satisfaction cards on the unit, asking the reader to fill in, log-on or whatever, to register their satisfaction (or otherwise).

Whilst I was there, nobody did and neither did I. It was so eye wateringly bad, that there was no incentive to bother. If they didn’t care, then why should we?

No doubt the Manager thought this was all OK, otherwise it wouldn’t have been like that!

It reminded me of a time in my early career working in a car Dealership. The Principal was adamant about the importance of Customer Care and every Service Customer had a pre-paid Customer Satisfaction Card stapled to their invoice.

92% of Customers were 100% satisfied; so he was happy.

He simply wouldn’t accept that this wasn’t the right assumption, as only a small proportion of the customers responded. Changes were needed, because the reality was that most customers were business users, so the invoice went to their accounts department.

Those customers that were unhappy were not completing the cards, but phoning the Service Department directly with their concerns – but this stat wasn’t part of the process and it wasn’t in the Service Managers interest to include it either, as 92% of his customers were 100% satisfied, OK?

But the Principal hung on to this process like grim death and thought that everything was hunky-dory, no changes required, despite the desperate pleas from his other Managers and staff.

The same applies in today’s difficult times. To succeed, the Customer Experience has to be better than ever. And that requires continual attention to detail, an open mind, great listening skills a transparent way of measuring the impact and the confidence to invest in the process.

All this at a time when the temptation and current general business feeling, is to minimise investment, hang tight, cut back staff time and weather the storm.

The danger with this approach is that those little problems can join together without warning, to conspire against you creating a very big headache indeed.

The result being that customers vote with their feet, buy elsewhere and start Social Media activity to publicly promote their poor experience to everybody they can tell their story to, except your organisation!

Jonathan Wainwright enables organisations to create commercial success through digital marketing, traditional communications and team development.

Join me on Twitter and LinkedIn.




Do you know where your Social Media Opportunity lies?

June 8, 2012

Social Media is a big new world of opportunity to explore, but where’s the best place to start the journey?

The statistics surrounding Social Media are mind boggling. However I consider this one to be the most telling, as recommendation has always been the most effective way to achieve sales….

“56% of consumers say that they are more likely to recommend a brand after becoming a (facebook) fan”.  (Source Digital buzz).

This really highlights the power of Social Media and the crucial importance of getting behind it and embracing this new media.

Because it is new, it is often misunderstood and dismissed as a fad, which it isn’t.

Personally, I believe the three key aspects of Social Media to consider are that…

  1. It isn’t primarily about selling; it’s about creating a new type of dialogue, centred around freedom of expression that can then lead to customers buying from you
  2. It isn’t free. It requires time, effort and skill to navigate the journey and to develop and nurture an audience to effectively develop a relationship with them
  3. Despite the bad press in some quarters, it has an integral role to play with every business and organisation; from smallest to largest. Like the telephone, email, letter and meeting, it is a basic business tool!

These are also the three basic principles that FCG Consultancy’s SMO process is built around.

This is why it provides a quick, simple and cost effective way to identify how Social Media can be of benefit to you and how you can take advantage of what it has to offer, without creating a time or money soak.

So how does FCG’s SMO process work?

The goal is to quantify the impact, cost and return that Social Media could bring to your organisation.

This is achieved through a combination of questionnaires, interviews, workshop and desk research to create a ‘Snapshot’ of your business, from the perspective of owners, staff and selected customers.

We ask what it is they like about you, what it is that makes you stand out from the crowd and what you could do better.

We assess the resources open to you.

Then we combine this information with our marketing, communications, business development and social media knowledge, to identify for you a top level Social Media strategy that is both manageable and focussed on achieving the objectives identified through our consultations.

The result is a valuable 10 page white paper, specific to your business. This will help you to gain insights into how you can start and develop a Social Media dialogue to build customer loyalty that, in turn, will lead to increased sales.

Does that sound like a good plan?

For SME’s and charities, for orders placed before 1st July, the cost of this service starts at just ‘£295.

It comes with a 7 day money back guarantee. So you can be 100% confident that you will be getting the information you need to act upon or it won’t cost you a penny.

To place your order please contact Jonathan Wainwright by phone on 07971 006 446, or by email to

‘Terms and conditions apply, you can download a full proposal HERE.

Jonathan Wainwright enables organisations to create commercial success through digital marketing, traditional communications and team development.

Join me on Twitter and LinkedIn.




A new Business Group with Soul

June 1, 2012

When business, religion and community come together, it’s a heady and powerful combination. So, in these times of perceived corporate greed, massive increases in CEO remuneration and austerity in the streets, it could have been a potential spark to the gunpowder keg.

But it wasn’t like that at all.

When the Ely Cathedral Business Group launched this week, culminating with their business exhibition in the cathedral and evening event last night to celebrate Business in the Community, it couldn’t have been more inspiring!

ECBG believes that for a healthy community, you need a healthy business community too; as they both work together. And the purpose of this group is to explore and strengthen this bond, help businesses succeed and communities grow stronger.

Very persuasive arguments were eloquently made by CEO’s from Spearhead International and John Lewis, Tom Green and Charlie Mayfield together with Bishop of Ely Rt. Rev Stephen Conway.

Quite a cocktail of speakers.

It was fascinating to learn about John Lewis’s partnership model, where CEO pay is linked to remuneration on the shop floor and where Managers, top to bottom, are held accountable to the people that work for them.

Interesting too, that building a business and passing the value on doesn’t have to be all about selling it, yet the tax breaks to do otherwise can be penalising. And that a huge proportion of stock exchange transactions to sell these days are automatic, based upon computer algorithms.

The general stance of the ECBG was that it is time to ditch short termism; based upon continual profit and to generate a longer term stability and platform that supports the wellbeing of the community.

This was an excellent launch event and I’m sure that they will do well as the fundamentals upon which they are built are solid and make sense. It was such a pleasure to enjoy the majesty of the Cathedral and to be able to circulate all of the stands and not feel that you are in the usual exhibition ‘shark tank’ with everyone wanting to high pressure sell.

Well done to ECBG, this event sold itself. I’m very confident that the organisation will flourish and do well and I look forward to finding out more about how they intend supporting the community within which I live.

Jonathan Wainwright enables organisations to create commercial success through digital marketing, traditional communications and team development.

Join me on Twitter and LinkedIn.