What happened the last time you went shopping? For clothes – electrical appliances – furniture – or whatever. What was your experience like? Was the shop assistant friendly? informed? helpful? How do you feel about poor customer service? Ever walked out of a shop rather than buy from the person serving you? Ever walked out of a shop because you got too much or too little attention?
The importance of people in our buying behaviour is huge. We buy from people. Yes, the process needs to be right…not too many needless forms…handy way to pay etc… Yes, the product needs to be the right one for our needs. But without the right people behind both process and product… well, you know the rest.
So why then, when the effect people have on the buying behaviour of customers is so apparent do we neglect them? Why in lean times do we only concentrate on the savings we can make by slimming down processes and spend time on innovation for our products? The savings we think we can make on the people aspect are achieved by cutting development and training budgets – by cancelling the Christmas do. But have you thought of how that will effect your workforce or have you just looked at the immediate benefit to the bottom line?
In actual fact, people can be much more fundamental in us all surviving this downturn. By spending some time and energy on people we can increase their ability to complete the job correctly, make them feel needed and valued and thus improve their attitudes, morale and customer service. Not only customer service but every aspect of the working day can benefit from your people being happy in their work. And ultimately your business benefits.
Be wary of how your people will react to budget cuts and how they will feel about their place in your organisation. Don’t ignore the opportunity to make the most out of people – as well as process and product.