Blog Archives

What would you change?

It is within the capacity of us all of to influence the part of the world we live in.

I love this video from  Kat Edmonson – Be The Change. 

Now don’t just talk about what you would like to change; work on a plan to influence the change then implement it.

Paul S Allen

Change is Inevitable

What ever happened to quality?

 

Paulusthebrit

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?

Probably not.

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.

idealog

Paul S Allen

Article also published on idealog 

 

 

Reaching a New Generation

This video highlights an issue that needs to be discussed, that is how do we reach today’s generation? An interesting video from a Christian group thinking about the gospel but it also applies to all groups and businesses trying to reach the new generations as they come along.

What are your thoughts?

Paul  S Allen

Video via Soul Care TV

Technology versus the personal touch

Paul S AllenThere’s an assumption – be it in government or enterprise – that people have the understanding and the skills required to use technology.

For example, filing company returns has to be done online, and accessing assistance in some cases can only be done via a website. So many services require people to have an internet capable device/smart phone to get the best value or benefit. But what about those who for one reason or another do not or cannot get access to the internet? Should they be penalised or disadvantaged?

This is a reminder to all:

* Not everyone has access to the internet! Of those who do, not everyone has access to quality broadband infrastructure. New Zealand has one of the poorest broadband infrastructures in the developed world.

* Not everyone has a mobile phone! Not all mobile phones are smartphones.

* Not everyone has a Facebook account or is connected to the world via social media.

Now don’t get me wrong: I love technology. It can be a fantastic tool for social interaction and productivity. I love my gadgets and hardware, I love broadband connectivity. I have met (virtually) many people both here in New Zealand and all over the world because of social media. But these virtual networks will never replace real, personal and physical interactions that are important for normal human life experience.

The more I use technology, the more I start to value walking into a shop and interacting with the staff or picking up a telephone and talking to someone, rather than sending emails or status updates to each other.

The online experience should enhance offline personal interactions – not replace them.

I have been shopping around for a walking stick for my wife who has a long-term debilitating illness (Myalgic Encephalopathy / Chronic Fatigue Syndrome). I did not just want any walking stick; I wanted one that was practical and most importantly looked good.

We had seen a few around and found a great selection on the Disability Resource Centre website, but the small thumbnail gave no impression as to how it felt or how true the colours were. It was only when I called into the showroom in Auckland on a recent trip and spoke with the staff that I chose the right size and colour. The staff were incredibly knowledgeable, helpful and friendly, especially important for the type of purchase that I was making.

Now I have seen how this organisation works and who the staff are, I would have no problem using their website for other orders, but if I lived closer I would still prefer to call in person.

Technology can be a great benefit for many and even provide a way to communicate with the outside world, but to assume that everyone has access or adequate services is a mistake.

No matter how good your website is or how accurate the information, people often need someone to talk to, to bounce ideas around with and who can give an immediate response to questions.

Making the assumption that everyone will use your app, visit your website, read the information, or even know where to start looking, could alienate the people you need to connect with.

Social interaction doesn’t just mean setting up a social media account – it means a real person connecting with a real person.

Paul S Allen 

Also published on Idealog Magazine 

idealog

Social Media – Food for Thought

Social Media – Food for Thought

I'm Watching You

I'm Watching You

With the increased usage of social media like twitter, facebook, youtube and blogs, there is an awareness that word-of-mouth comments about a business can spread very fast.

It is one thing to deal with people outside an organisation making comments or criticisms, but what happens when staff within an organisation starts to share their personal opinions and views online?

Where is the boundary of personal freedom (including freedom of speech) and control of a staff member’s ability to express an opinion publicly?

Some issues can be addressed with clauses within employment agreements regarding confidentiality of information and clauses that mention bringing the organisation into disrepute. There is no difference between offline and online activities in regards to this.

For the person who is using these forums it is good to remember a few basic rules about social media:

• Online, treat everything as public regardless of personal privacy settings

• People, including the media, employers and staff, are watching your personal accounts

• It is recommended to think twice before you post anything online, for example those comments and photos of that party last night may not be the best thing for your employer (or employee) to see.

Remember that it works both ways, you may check up on staff but they may be checking up on you.

Now what happens when staff members who have personal social media accounts become known publicly as being part of the business? The line between personal and business becomes blurred. If a staff member expresses an opinion or discusses personal values, beliefs or ideologies or even details about their routine or daily lives, does it reflect on the business? Can an employer insist that staff stop using social media or control/restrict what is said?

There are other questions in this area as well.

• Should an employer be searching a staff member’s account?

• Is it appropriate for an employer to “follow” or “friend” a staff member?

• Should you ignore/decline/block staff members (or your boss’s) friend request?

The question is where are the boundaries? Should it be left to chance or common sense or does it need to be controlled by policy or legislation?

Social media is here, to try to stop it is futile, to control it is problematic, so the other option is to become aware of how it works and educate yourself and others as to the appropriate use of this media.

Food for thought.

Paul S Allen

Other Articles

Social Media the Next Stage

Social Networking and Business

I Am Watching You

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