Category Archives: Business Development
This has been a bad year for us especially in the area of some of the purchases that we have made.
We are careful shoppers; we investigate before we spend our hard-earned money on almost everything. We use the principle of “buying the best you can with the resources you have at the time”. Yet, some of the bigger purchases we have made, we have needed to return because of manufacturing faults, part failures or damage, and these products returned were what would have been considered quality products. They have ranged from suits and shirts to cameras.
For the most part these goods have been replaced or repaired smoothly and quickly, with the exception of my camera that I am still waiting to be fixed under warranty 45 days later.
The main issues I have, is that these returned goods have all been items where there is an expectation of high quality and durability. It is a complete waste of my time to take a faulty/damaged product back to be fixed or replaced by a supplier. In the case of the camera there have been so many photo opportunities missed that can never happen again.
Great brands can be tarnished by poor quality products and poor after sales support.
Will I buy another product from a manufacturer who has supplied a faulty product?
Will I buy a product from a store that treats me, the customer, as the problem?
Now don’t get me wrong, the customer is NOT always right, but if the customer has used a product for a while and knows how something behaves normally, when something does go wrong the expert is the customer not the retailer or the manufacture, or at least they should be made to feel like that. To be told by the manufacturer the item is acting normally when you know it isn’t, demeans the customer, causing the trust in the entire brand and the retail outlet to be lost.
If the customer has a problem, you as a retailer/manufacturer have a problem, so listen to them carefully.
I understand that it is difficult to make sure that every product is perfect in every way, but if something does go wrong it should be rectified quickly. If retail/manufacturer staff attitude towards the customer is poor, blaming or just downright rude, it may be time to consider retraining the staff or closing the doors on your business as word of mouth reviews travel quickly, this is especially so in the age of social media.
Customer service is not just about “selling” it is about an ongoing relationship with your customer. Great after-sale service can make a bad experience a positive one for both the customer and the manufacturer. The solution all comes down to the attitude of the staff dealing with the customer directly and the manufacturer providing technical support.
There is no substitute or shortcuts to the following…
- Great products that people want (not what you want to sell them)
- Great quality control and quality assurance
- Qualified customer support team (knowledgeable, understanding and approachable)
- Great after-sales service and support
Get these simple steps right and you are well on your way to having happy customers.
The best action to take is to get quality right first time, check and check again before an item goes out the front door and if something does go wrong fix or replace it quickly.
Article also published on idealog
The role of a leader is to take people to a new destination whether that is literal or figurative. Planning is critical as to the success of the journey and can solve many problems before setting out.
Here are ten things that you need to know.
1. Know where you are now.
“A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.”
This is a commonly used saying but it can be translated “The journey of a thousand miles begins beneath one’s feet.”
I prefer the alternative version as it emphasizes that we need to have an understanding about our current situation and circumstances. Taking stock of where you are and being self-aware and community-aware is a vital component to understand before launching on a new project or adventure.
2. Know where you are going.
“If you don’t know where you are going, any road will get you there.”
You need a map, or at least some navigation tools (and know how to use them). To have a goal to achieve or to have a destination to get to is important as you ca use it to measure progress.
3. Know why you are going.
The “why” is the thing that will keep people motivated when they lose sight of the goal. It creates purpose and buy-in. Sometimes the reason for a mountain to be climbed is just because it is there, but to achieve victory on a great journey you need to know why you are traveling. Columbus did not travel into a big blue ocean for no reason, his purpose was to find new trade routes to Asia, discovering the Americas along the way was a by-product.
4. Know how you will travel.
The method is important and how you start a journey may not be how you finish it. There will be times when you will have to adapt to new environments to get there.
5. Know who you will travel with.
The team is important, they are not just the workers or minions, they are vital in achieving great things. They may be (and should be) better than you, highly skilled, technically minded people, people who get things done. They may be stronger leaders than you. They may annoy you, question you, disagree with you; you need them to. “Yes-men” will allow you to fall into a chasm because they won’t challenge you.
Some people may not stay for the whole journey but they will be always part of the story.
6. Know when to rest.
The journey may be hard, long, wearying, and dangerous, so know when to stop and rest.
Enjoy the scenery as this has two effects… 1 you and your team can refresh and re-energize themselves. 2 It gives you an opportunity to assess the situation, take stock, and plan the next phase.
Rest is vital to avoid burnout. If you do not rest you will make mistakes that may mean you will not succeed to your destination.
7. Know when to change direction.
very rarely in life is the path from “A” to “B” a straight line. you will need to change direction and even travel in the apparently wrong direction to reach your destination. There are obstacles to avoid unnecessary dangers to steer around, the terrain may be too hard to travel in that direction.
You may have gone down a dead-end. The only choice as a leader is to swallow your pride, turn around and backtrack until you can move in a better direction.
It is essential at these time to hold on to the map and to reiterate the “why”.
Humility will need to triumph over ego in these circumstances.
8. Know what the dangers could be.
Constantly be aware of the changing world around you (environmental, political,social etc). Listen to your team, what are they saying, they may have seen something you haven’t. Investigate and take seriously any reports of danger and after investigation act accordingly. Know what is real and what is fear.
9. Know what you need to take.
Provisions, skills, equipment, expertise, the old scout motto is all important here “Be prepared”.
10. Know what to do when you get there.
Plan the celebration, learn to recognize and celebrate achievements on the way. Remember the team got you there they should all be recognized. Don’t rest at the summit that is not the end of the road. this chapter may be finished but there are more to be written.
At this point go back to my first point know where you stand then decide where you are going.
The only thing to know left after you have thought about all of this and have taken time to prepare is…
Know when to start.
This is a rant so I apologise now.
Let me make this clear: These views are my own and do not necessarily represent any organisation I am associated with.
So what are your memories of the major international rugby tournament so far?
Firstly let me say that I do hope that this event will be successful and yes even that the New Zealand team has a great tournament.
I hope that our country will be better off economically as a result of hosting it.
I also hope that visitors coming to New Zealand will take their time to enjoy the scenic wonders of our beautiful land.
For me, this rugby event has brought big corporate sponsors dictating what the public can wear; what businesses can or can’t say; how people spend their own money; overpriced branded replica rugby jerseys; and now promotional campaigns that reduce New Zealanders and rugby supporters to be the object of local and international ridicule.
Although I do not follow rugby or any particular sport I respect the fact that many people do. “Grass root” support of rugby, and other sport, is part of the rich culture of New Zealand. These blunders by sponsors or may be by their marketing companies, whether deliberate or accidental, have tarnished New Zealand and New Zealanders.
The role of sponsorship is to help fund the events while providing an opportunity to promote the sponsors’ own products and services. So far very few of the major event sponsors for this event will entice me to buy or use their products. In this regard I feel that they have done themselves a disservice and have alienated the very people they are trying to reach.
So what about you, what are your memories of this major sporting event so far?