Every major industry was once a growth industry. But some that are now riding a wave of growth enthusiasm are very much in the shadow of decline. Others, which are thought of as seasoned growth industries, have actually stopped growing. In every case the reason growth is threatened, slowed, or stopped is not because the market is saturated. It is because there has been a failure of management.
Doing good and better business
Given the complexity and constantly changing nature of our world, there are no hard-and-fast rules that adequately cover all the dilemmas consumers' face when doing business with your company.
Consumers want to be assured about the companies they do business with. They want to be certain about their honestly and integrity and know that their business will be conducted to the highest of standards.
In most situations, businesses meet or exceed consumers' expectations because their relationships and profitability depends on it. And to succeed, they must earn the respect and confidence of those they serve. The most significant factor in earning consumer respect is to act and conduct your business in an ethical manner. Sheila Charneski says: "Ethics in the market place is a shared responsibility." She shares with us the business codes that need to be followed.
Business code of ethics
Equality: Serve all members of your community according to your charter of rights and freedom and display a fair sense of justice.
Truth: Make accurate claims to your customers and use only competent testimonials. Strive to be upfront about all aspects of the products and services you offer.
Honesty: Uphold the principle of fair play and be vigilant against contact that has intent, capability or effect of being deceptive towards your customers.
Integrity: Abide by the law in a technical way, but strive to serve your customers with honest values, avoiding all devices and schemes that prey on human ignorance or gullibility.
Courtesy: Support a healthy market place for all through co-operation with your customers, other businesses, your suppliers and every person who would benefit from an ethical free market system.
Self-regulation: Honour all your commitments and guarantees as well as seek to resolve any dispute in a fair and expedient manner. Investigate, strive to eliminate and fully inform the consumers of any health, environmental, safety or other hazards posed by the normal use of your products and services.
Customer Service: Good customer service is the lifeblood of any business. You can bring in as many new customers as you want, but unless you can get some of those customers to come back, your business won't be profitable for long. Ensure that your business becomes known for its good customer service and allow you to reap the benefits that good customer service provides.
Consumer responsibility and basic practices
Consumers should also share the responsibility for maintaining an ethical market place. When doing business with any company - be it a store, professional services, small or large corporations - they should strive to conduct their business following some basic practices.
Education: Know your rights and responsibilities, comparison shopping, read contracts and ask questions before you buy. Investigate offers that sound too good to be true and insist on superior customer service.
Truthfulness: Don't return used goods under the pretence that they are damaged if they are not. This practice, as well as switching price tags and shoplifting (or failure to report shoplifters) is a crime. It also costs you as the consumer time and money.
Honesty: Exhibit the same kind of honesty you expect to receive from business firms. If a sales or service person makes a mistake in your favour, point it out as quickly as you would a mistake in the company's favour.
Integrity: Live up to your obligations. Enter agreements in good faith and pay your bills when they are due. If you can't, inform the merchant and explain why.
Courtesy: Recognise that business employees are individuals. Treat them as you wish to be treated.
Sensibility: Don't make unreasonable demands. Respect the company's right to limit services and products offered. Don't expect to get something for nothing.
These forgotten vendors, sometimes more correctly called 'providers,' often bear the brunt of a campaign planner's bad planning or miscommunication.
Audits are being done all the time within many companies across most departments to identify problems, opportunities and in some instances, the irresponsible or 'not accountable' behaviour of management and their staff.
We are often asked how we survive the hubbub of our every day business activities, the changing economy and building a balanced life. Simple! It is through our business model of 'collaboration' and support, building trusted partnerships with all our valuable customers, service providers, business colleagues, friends and family. And keeping an 'open door' policy - you never know who will walk in.
Companies now have to deal with many more Customer Contact Points (CCP's) and channels than they did just 5 years ago. While this creates more opportunities to reach your customers, it also makes it easier for them to defect, increasing the pressure on marketers to build relationships that last. It is important to know that each point of contact with your customer is a 'Moment of Truth.'