Wednesday, 2 November 2011

It's a fine line....



A fine line measuring tool!
Having worked for a market leader I know it can be a double-edged sword. It can be both exhilarating and exasperating at the same time. There’s the issue of who or what determines a market leader, it can be that they are seen as a leader from a design or technological standpoint or more than likely it is a simple measure of turnover or market share, in other words the numbers game. Whatever the measurement there is always a certain amount of contention which has a habit of manifesting itself in a variety of ways, none of them good.

Now you would assume that this is all an external issue, and that the battle takes place in the general marketplace with the competition, and to a large extent that would be true. After all isn’t this all part of the normal cut and thrust of competition that in the past has been considered ‘healthy’.

Well yes, but there is a darker side. I think we can all recount examples of organisations over a broad spread of industries who we feel have got too big for their boots, and are tagged with the dreaded ‘arrogant’ stigma. I can think of a well-known carmaker that was branded as such, but in reality it was the appointed dealerships salespeople that were at the heart of the problem, they had mistaken premium for pride that in turn projected as aloofness. This is the crux of the problem for any company that aspires to be, or already is a market leader.

Like any sport you care to mention, results come from confidence. I know there’s a lot more to it than that, but you can do everything else right and it can still fail due to the lack of it. All managers and business owners know and understand this, and so they strive to instil pride in their products and services throughout their workforce. Through their branding and marketing efforts they extol the virtues of their organisations that in turn inspires and motivates their employees. But a word of caution, there is a fine line between confidence and arrogance and you need to be ever vigilant that the line hasn’t been crossed, as in those time honoured famous words, “it takes years to build a reputation, but seconds to lose it!”

When it comes down to it the issue is always the same, it’s about communication. All businesses should now be focussed on customer service and that means regular communication with customers, asking their opinion and acting on what they say and then most importantly telling them what you’ve done.

In my experience there is one reason people think a company is arrogant, and that is; they don’t ever see their salesman again, they don’t answer correspondence, phone back, or return emails, in short they don’t communicate. The sad part is, it’s really simple to fix but by the time it’s realised, it’s already too late.