IS YOUR BUSINESS GOING TO BE A WINNER THIS YEAR?
OR A LOSER?
How the Occupy Wall Street’ movement can help your business
Disclaimer: The following comments speak in generalities when one says political process, politicians, business and media. There are exceptional businesses, true reporters and a few politicians whom are interested in doing the right thing verses whatever will get them back in office.
I am excited about 2012 and all of the opportunity that exists for the companies that learn to look at the “Occupy Wall Street” movement with the right eyes. First, let us be honest. We need a strong banking community and the last thing we need is more government intervention in our capitalist economic model. Governments cannot legislate morality and values when politicians can’t define “Absolute Truth,” and everything is determined by the latest popularity polls verses being statesmen and women. “Occupy Wall Street” is the public’s way of expressing frustrations toward any business or person that can be demonized over the rapid changes that have taken place in our world of Instant Gratification.’ Company shareholders want immediate results, the government is broke so it wants taxes and fees, and educational systems have fallen away from educating young people on some absolute values that give life a value beyond dollars and cents. Corporate leadership is trying to make as much as they can while they have a job because long term employment is an dead concept when immediate results are required regardless of the cost to society. Customers are seen as human capital verses individuals with lives, dreams and hopes for a brighter tomorrow. We have taught the people who are in need to depend on the “free lunch” and our charitable organizations and religious groups look to build bigger buildings verses feed and house the needy.
Then of course there is the “MEDIA” which is now based on which side of the political table you sit or what story creates the best result for advertisers. Some reporters no longer investigate but simply regurgitate whatever is HOT RIGHT NOW. Occupy Wall Street is a sign of times to come for a frustrated humanity that has been told for years that success is a right and that someone is always to blame for how you feel.
Now here is the silver lining to the demonstrations and growing frustrations. Companies can create changes in their policies which will catapult their businesses to the top over the next 5 years. I call this short-term planning, but in today’s world that would be called strategic long term initiatives. No matter what you may call it, companies must change the way they are doing business from technologically driven planning that replaces human contact with technical efficiency to one that utilizes technology to create a greater understanding of peoples time and as a means to improve personal and professional relationships that understand human emotions. Computers, social websites, automated voice mails and virtual technology seems like the answer to corporate efficiency, but it will end up being the death nail for retailers and large companies. Today’s retail winner and corporate success are companies that have taken technology and made it personal but not at the expense of real human relationships. Companies like Apple and Google have work environments the spur creativity, balance and wealth based on long term success. When companies no longer see the customer as their boss, they will fail, or at best, they become the giant behemoth that the public uses out of necessity but does not like. Today’s larger banks and cell phone companies have fallen prey to this problem. Customers are no longer hearing pleasant voices that represent long standing relationships, but rather we get automated voice mail attendants that send you on a proverbial wild goose chase and you, the customer, have become a 9 digit number that is but one customer in a sea of millions. Human contact is eliminated and companies have begun to see the customer as a web address verses a living breathing person that has real emotions, dreams, hopes and desires. Let’s face it, the social website craze is all about creating contacts and relationships based on data and limited time for real human contact. You can go from office to office in most cities today without having to go out on the street and we can drop out of society by hiding in big homes or secure buildings that insulate us from the rest of the human race. We as a people now look at the challenges of society as “that is their problem, so why should I care.”
I can tell you that the company that starts to say ‘I care’ is the company that will win customers and increase its long term revenue and values.
No matter how much we want to imagine that people are digital beings without personality and emotional needs, we are humans and we love human touch, the smile of another person, the handshake of a commitment and laughter of people who are enjoying themselves. We want to be appreciated and loved for who we are, not who someone else makes us out to be. The winner is the company that says my greatest asset is my people and our customers, and not the latest building or computer program. So retailers listen, your brand is everything and it needs to say a few very direct things.
First: The customer is KING.
Second: We appreciate your business.
Third: Problems are met with: How can I correct any problems you may have and as an employee I am empowered to serve you until you are happy.
Fourth: Technology is amazing and we use it in a manner that allows you to be efficient with your time but not lose the ability to be a person verses an email address or data collection vehicle.
Fourth: Customers will pay for quality and they will be loyal to companies that invest back into THEIR COMMUNITY.
Now who is going to be the winner? The winner in the changing business environment will be the companies and institutions that decide that efficiency is not preferred over human needs of touch and communication. The winner will be the retailers, the businesses and the institutions who understand that the customer is a person, a living breathing emotional human being who wants to be respected and appreciated for spending their money with you. We have spent 10 years breaking down the customer into a buyer or consumer and not a person, so we now read about the great customer relationship companies as though they were part of some archaic business model. The winner will be the companies that take technology and improve the input of the customer and train their employees to appreciate each customer as someone who helped create their jobs and are a means to long term security for their own lives. These companies can be comfortable with investing for the long term because their customer base will be loyal and appreciates feeling good when they spend their hard earned money at the retailer, educational facility and even their government.
I am excited about 2012 as I express HOPE for the businesses and people whom I serve. Helping Other People Excel. Thank you for 2011 and let’s make 2012 the year of the PERSON.