Warm hug

Yesterday I visited a company where my welcome by Shanti at Reception could be best described as a very professional, warm hug (there was no contact I hasten to add, it was just a feeling): it was as if I was a friend of the family coming round for a cup of tea.  It made me think about the touch-points to our businesses.  We spend a lot of time and effort designing our products, company mission statements, marketing activity etc, but if the organisation is not aligned with these claims, it’s just a mask.  It’s not sufficient merely to aspire to the words you write… the company needs to live them to be authentic.

Colleagues at The Newcomen have been banging the drum to consumer brands about the need for truthful advertising and aligned organisations for at least the thirteen years that I’ve been working with them.  Where their initial product was merely a way to supercharge consumer purchase-response to advertising, a technique yielding extraordinary results, they have latterly applied to same science to organisations holistically.  Where clients have embraced their approach and recommendations they have seen significant attitudinal change within their organisation, which has led to a healthy improvement in performance.

But as small enterprises, what can we really do to implement such techniques without budgeting for the practitioners?

Firstly set aside some time for this important topic, develop a curiosity about the subject and consider where the touch-points are.  Consumer/client to product through its lifecycle obviously, but what of the following: in-bound callers, through reception and direct to desk; recipients of out-bound calls; visitors, both expected and unexpected; treatment of customers / suppliers / partners both by account management and accounts department; visitors to trade show stands, third-party visits by merchandising / auditing companies on your behalf… these are only a guide as each company will have its individual list.

Think about each touch-point from both inside and outside – how would you like for these interactions to run and what’s happening in reality?  Honestly now!  If you don’t know, go and listen, or get a friend to call up / visit, or ask clients and suppliers to give you their view.

You may be amazed at how great you staff are and if so, remember to praise them for it!

If not, neither despair nor get upset.  The way to change behaviour is calmly and through involving your staff in the subject… don’t try to sell them on your viewpoint, but rather allow them to buy into it and develop it further if possible so that they can claim some ownership.  This way the changes will become imbibed into the culture – you may even be surprised at how it gets people thinking about other ways to improve the way the company performs.

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