Monday, 31 December 2007

Old Customers Or New Ones?

One of the biggest problems reported by small businesses across the UK is the difficulty in finding well-qualified staff, able to do the job required.

With 60% of small firms in the UK expressing a desire to grow over the next two years, and 40% hoping to increase the number of people they employ over the next 12 months, the situation is not likely to improve in the short term.

The government’s “Leitch Review” published last December stressed the need for a demand-led skills system which realises the needs of employers as well as learners. Leitch recommended that government should provide the bulk of the funding for basic “level 2” skills and provide a subsidy for higher “level 3” skills, with the remainder being funded by employers and individuals. Leitch also recommended targets for over 90% of the adult population to be qualified to at least “level 2”, and 40% of the adult population to posses world class high level skills with a “level 4” qualification.

Managerial skills, IT skills, sales and marketing skills, technical skills, customer service skills, and languages were found to be in particularly short supply in a survey “Lifting the Barriers to Growth in UK Small Businesses 2006”

So is it about Funding? Partly of course in that if there is funding available then the incentive for trainers to get involved is nearer the top of the pile.

It’s also about society as a whole and how we bring and have brought up our young ones. That is something of a reflection of how we were brought up and so on back up the line. For 130 years education has been provided by the state apparatus in some form or other. However the attitudes and backgound standards of behaviour, regard for others and knowledge of the courtesies of society which are all there for a purpose starts to be set before we ever get to school.  With an increasing mix of cultures in the social whirl the problems have a n extra dimension to them.

As a start Bob Shepherd Associates can help you coach your staff in how to handle your customers, in person, on the phone, by correspondence, email or written.

This is not an exercise in bringing back the polite olden days. This is about handling complaints to achieve something positive. It is about giving your company an edge over its rivals because it treats people properly.
Retaining customers is cheaper than gaining new ones.

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