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Are Your Business Decisions Taken With All The Stakeholders In Mind?

Are Your Business Decisions Taken With All The Stakeholders In Mind?

It is easy to sabotage a brand when the customer is forgotten, writes management expert Debbie Nicol.

One leading sports retailer recently expanded here in Dubai, increasing its outlets in major regional malls with additional stores. An excited customer entered one of the new stores closer to his home, to purchase an item recently viewed in one of the other existing stores. As a result of the item being out of stock, the normal customer assumption prevailed… simply transport one from another one of your stores.

That basic assumption produced a plethora of insight for the customer, whilst being informed by the sales person:

• This store is franchised and has nothing to do with the other stores
• This store does not carry all the same brands
• This store does not work with the other stores of the same brand name
• This store uses a completely different inventory and system

Yet this store carries the same brand name.

When decisions are taken in business, what measure is applied to test the sustainability of the decision, and when? For how long will a decision based on financial gain reap results, when it is at the expense of the customer experience?

Consider:
How much does financial gain influence business decisions in your company? Many say money is the purpose of business, and no doubt, money is one of the outcomes of business. Should trust in a brand also be prioritised as an outcome? If so, how does inconsistency of product, process and approach impact the customer relationship?

What price does your company place on customer relationship? Does your company do ‘business’ with the customer, or focus on loyalty and long-term relationships? If there was to be an evolution in your company’s approach, how much would you prioritise customer-centric systems?

How would you view a part-franchise arrangement, by ‘selling’ your brand name (only) and not products and processes to another to operate? Would it be worthwhile as the extra exposure would warrant it?

Nothing is right or wrong in business but each decision produces different consequences.

The customer experience clearly had not been considered a priority in the above-mentioned expansion process, and the loss of a customer was an emerging consequence.

This begs the question: what had been the motivation behind the major high-street retailer to franchise? The customer can only believe that this increased scalability of brand exposure was for financial gain, yet unfortunately it also seems to have been at the expense of the customer experience.

Debbie Nicol is the managing director of Dubai-based ‘business en motion’, and creator and author of the ‘embers of the world’ series.

Also read: How To Be A Great Leader

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