October 16, 2010 § Leave a comment
BC recently changed their drinking and driving laws. The Union BC Municipalities are petitioning the BC Government to adopt a progressive alcohol tax that adds more tax to higher alcohol items. Both are in the hopes of reducing and limiting’ irresponsible drinking’. My thoughts are pretty simple; neither gets to the heart of the issue and therefore neither will have the desired effect.
First what is ‘irresponsible drinking’? I think we can all agree that having a couple of glasses of wine or beer with friends is not the problem. Neither is getting piss drunk and puking all over yourself. The problem is getting piss drunk and either getting behind the wheel of a car, or exiting a bar and starting fights or damaging property, or drinking yourself silly and beating up ones kids or spouse, of drinking while you’re on the job or pregnant, or simply drinking yourself to death. By the way this was not meant to be a comprehensive list. In other words it is the social cost of over indulgence.
None of the above instances are economically motivated, nor will they be significantly derailed through economic actions. I believe that it simply encourages other illegal behaviours like smuggling, experimenting with expensive narcotics, breaking & entering, that sort of thing.
Rather I believe that these issues are cultural. We are brought up understanding that drinking is a taboo (n. a prohibition imposed by a social custom or as a protective measure – Merriam-Webster Dictionary). One that our parents relish and joke about, but kids are forbidden to do. What happens is that we create a taboo. A taboo that is alluring and seductive. A taboo that it accessible and energized by peer pressure. If your buddies are trading shots you are likely to do that to.
Pricing will play a role in eliminating the problem but won’t solve it. My guess is that deconstructing the taboo will significantly reduce the social motivation for over consumption. By the way deconstructing the taboo won’t happen if it comes from the ‘authorities’. It seems that is a sure-fire way to encourage the opposite behaviour.
The next question is how and who will have the political motivation to do make the ‘how’ happen. Love to hear your thoughts on this.
Thanks for reading this.
October 9, 2010 § Leave a comment
Most businesses have always measured their performance in terms of inventory, terms, gross margin, and net profits and almost never in terms of Customer Service.
Every staff member, every telephone or fax line, every e-mail address, Facebook Page, Twitter Account, Yelp, and Foursquare account is a contact with your customers, and customers are anybody making contact with your company or within your company. To put this in perspective, we all know what we do when ignored on the phone or standing the till of a company. What would a CEO do if the VP of Marketing didn’t bother to return his or her calls? What is a vendor who can’t get a return call think about the company that they are dealing with? What would they tell their family and friends about that company? The point is that every point of contact is an opportunity to build your business because every contact relates to the bottom line.
There is a local company that I am very familiar with that has been measuring the performance in terms of Customer Service as well as financially and operationally. They simply quantified the customer service relationship. They calculated the number of customer service contacts they have and divided gross revenue by that number. They even went so far as to divide gross profits by the number of customer service contacts (to sound fancy and MBAish I should call these CSC’s).
$100 / 10 CSC’s = $10/CSC
They measure this quarterly, annually and use it as a measure of impact of specific marketing campaigns. What they have found is when they simply invested in customer counts (advertising to increase traffic) the revenue per CSC only increased marginally and in some cases when backwards. When they invested in programs that focussed on Customer Service, $/CSC increased by 15-20%. When they invested in customer service programs and supported that with advertising to encourage more customer contact, not only did gross revenue and profits increase, but the $/CSC jumped 50%.
Here is the other thing they realized. Greater loyalty and engagement from their customers and staff. Messaging to staff no longer had to be dumbed down, rather messaging to staff encouraged discussion debate and innovation. Wierd hey?
If you are not doing this at company start. Start my simply creating a starting point by doing the math. Gross Revenue/Customer Service Contacts.
Thanks for reading this.
October 8, 2010 § Leave a comment
Do you remember the movie Patch Adams. Robin played the role of Patch Adams who was a doctor that brought the power of laughter and smiles to bear on the medical community. Part of his route to becoming a doctor and understanding the value of positive attitude was spending sometime in a mental institution. A recurring theme is Patch being shown 4 fingers and being asked “how many fingers do you see?” Eventually Patch looks past the fingers and focusses on the old man. In the process he sees double the number of fingers.
There are a lot of people out asking the wrong question in a effort understand what social is. The questions are centered around What is Twitter? How do I do it? If these are the questions that you have been asking, look beyond the platforms and see the purpose. The purpose, of course, is to see the person on the other end of the platform. Why? Because they are asking to see you.