The Value of Public Perception on Your Business

The opponents of climate change do not seem to be as vocal, or numerous as they were.  The swing now is on the amount of media attention highlighting how little or how much change the climate is going through.

Whatever the cause or source for the focus on climate change, it has meant that all governments – local, state, national and international – are putting regulations and monitory in place.  One immediate benefit from this is that records are now being kept and as any Six Sigma proponent will tell you, it is only then that you can make informed decisions – either way. Without this information it is all emotion and hearsay.

BUT this will not absolve businesses from being aware of perception; a declining public perception will kill profits and eventually the business. I am not promoting or knocking Eviance, (a company that provides Environmental Enterprise Resource Planning software) but they have put out a white paper on this subject  “The Value of Public Perception: Transforming Environmental Efforts From Compliance-Driven to Risk Management”.

I like this paper as they are suggesting that following the regulations and making business calculations based on whether to comply or not, is like playing the game from the sidelines.  Customers, investors and competitors are now very savvy and review a companies environmental performance – and environmental plans – which means if you are perceived in the wrong light regards your environmental scorecard, you lose.

It is the pro-active steps that are taken regards the environment (not just climate change) that can push a company to the front of the pack. This is a common marketing theme – listen to your customer.  Even raising the awareness of customers, investors and competitors that your company is against particular regulations or perceived climate friendly initiatives will damage your reputation.

In summary, any SWOT analysis would indicate that it is in the company’s best interest – including long term financially – to go environmentally friendly, be ahead of the regulations, be perceived as being on the same side as other stake-holders. Yep, the tide is rising and as with the Danish King Canute, no commands or pleading will stop it.

When Customers ask – how can I help

This blog has more focus towards B2B  – After recently reading a number of articles on customer service I find there is a plethora of information but often this information is conflicting.  For example there are those that espouse the opinion that by having happy employees you will attain happy customers, others state that happy employees have nothing to do with happy customers.

One claim I read, there was research proving that customer’s who have experienced near perfect after sales customer service are more loyal than those that obtained a perfect product and had no need to contact customer service at all. Then there is the classical, identify your customer, identify what they value and then keep assessing their satisfaction. Does this mean always build in one flaw? (only if your after sales is great).

The quandary I have when reading these articles/thesis is that they are all correct –  sort of, but the proponents all appear absolute (all or nothing). Yes, it is about learning who your customers are and what they want, not being everything to all customers (or, knowing who you do want as a customer), making sure your staff are happy (they may not make your customer happy but at least they will not make them unhappy), and finally work WITH your customer.

After asking the standard question “what can we do for you”, find out how the customer can help you.  They may be doing something just because they always have or think its easiest for you. Discuss with them both side to the relationship there may just be that “A-ha” occasion and everything works better and everyone wins for example delivery sites/times, order timing, etc.

Yes it is all about really finding out:  who you want as a customer, what that customer wants, then what fits best for both – see if the customer can help you, do what you do better !