There is a current trend in business, particularly within the legal profession, for mergers and acquisitions. We must grow larger to survive I hear. Well it may not be right for everybody.
Question: Would you rather be an excellent small business, an average medium sized one, or an awful large one?
Many businesses will survive or fail on their client service delivery and there are many examples where the larger the business, the less they seem to care about the customer. Banks and utility companies continually get low scores in this area and my wife and I can tell horror stories involving large telecomms organizations such as EE and Vodafone that are frankly bordering on criminal.
I wonder if in the case of floated companies this is due to shareholders being put first, then the customer and finally the staff. Anyone who has read Richard Branson's autobiography may well remember that the ethos at Virgin is to turn this idea on its head. Realising that disengaged staff rarely deliver excellent client service, they give priority to staff and clients which to me makes sense as then the financials should take care of themselves, reaping the rewards of excellent reputation for service delivery and word of mouth referrals.
It is not only large corporates that should look at this service issue. Since relocating here to Australia our best friends were sourcing a wedding venue with a significant budget running into tens of thousands of dollars. They initially went to the supposed 'go to' venue in Sydney and were treated as if the venue was doing them a favour. Their attitude was arrogant and basically take it or leave it, with no more than two minutes from a junior team member invested in the process. Shocking. Instead they chose an independent venue that bothered to take the time to make them feel important and do the basics such as showing them photos of previous weddings at the venue on an ipad whilst offering complementary coffee and snacks. Marketing spend $50, return several hundred times that figure.
The majority of clients I see ask for help to significantly grow their revenue streams. In many cases this is not the best course of action until systems and processes have been upgraded to cope with the new demand.
In 2014 your potential clients will demand more for less. How are you going to please them?