Archive for the ‘Passion’ Category

So, you may have noticed the other day I posted my first blog in over a year. It has been a busy 12 months and even longer since I closed my consulting business to focus on another incredible opportunity that presented itself to me. Due to the amount of time that it took to build my understanding of the new business and the role that I played in it, my blog took a back seat even though it was the fun side of my consulting business. Well the time has come to delve back into the blog and to put some focus back on one of the creative things that I truly love to do.

I wanted to take a minute to restate the purpose of my blog other than just being an outlet for me to be challenged, supported and critiqued for some of the thoughts that I put out there. My consulting work and my passion for many years had been the customer experience and it is still something that I am truly passionate about as part of my new role and as a consumer every day. The blog was to help consumers understand that they had choices for their hard working dollars and should not accept a bad experience when there are so many other businesses that would bend over backwards to earn their trust, respect and loyalty. Often times the blogs encouraged consumers to take the leap, do the leg work and make the move versus sticking with the existing business that was counting on us not to make the effort. On the business side of the customer experience it was about pointing things out to businesses that provided great customer experiences and those that didn’t. For those that did well it was my pleasure to share the amazing things with my followers, even if it was the smallest of things, as they often are the things that make the difference. On the not so good side, I would tell the story and then make a suggestion or two (usually with a little humour) that I thought might help those businesses improve their experience and ultimately keep their customers. You can see what specific experience drove me to start my business and blog by looking back at one of my first blogs here http://www.bomberconsult.com/?s=dry+cleaner&x=0&y=0.

One addition to my original focus moving forward will be things that may not speak directly to the customer experience, but something that has motivated me to sit down and pull some thoughts together, like the RBC blog.  In the world we are in today I think one of our biggest risks is to remain silent while the world passes us by. As times presumably get tougher moving forward I believe the silent majority will start to rally and begin to speak up. Remaining silent will allow others to impact the comfort of our lives and I prefer to be a part of that conversation. Hopefully I can help rally others to stand up and make a difference as well.

Thanks for your support!

Cheers,
Pete

So, the Royal Bank has come out and apologised for outsourcing some business to an organization that was using foreign workers to facilitate some of its IT work. The effect of the move was that 45 Canadians would lose their roles at the bank….hmmm.

So who’s to blame? Gord Nixon or the bank? The tech company hired to do the work? The RBC employees for not doing a good enough job or not being productive enough? I am sure there would be people that would argue on any of these fronts, but I want to propose that there is someone else responsible for these continued stories of outsourcing, layoffs, downsizings, corporate restructuring or any other word that you want to use for a reduction in the workforce at any company.

YOU. (I include myself in the YOU, but YOU sounds more powerful than WE in this case.)

It’s a complex situation with many other variables (which I would like to expand on in future blogs), but specifically it is anyone who owns shares in a company (or a mutual fund) and continues to demand/expect high quarterly growth or share price increases and dividends without considering the consequences in the short and long term. You see, once sales start to drop (which is happening in just about every company in every sector) there are only a few ways for companies to maintain their profitability in order to keep YOU happy. First, as most companies have already done, you strip out all the fat in your logistics, production and any other cost centre that you may have. Once that is done you start to investigate other areas that create massive amounts of stress within organizations…How about cutting unique aspects of your product out or cutting back on the quality?… Not a good idea. How about cutting your marketing budget and hoping that it won’t affect sales?…I might suggest that it is more about the type of marketing that you are using that may be the issue, but in general if you cut your budget you are less likely to maintain awareness with the buying public…Also, not a good thing. Finally (and not always the last choice), how about cutting some staff or outsourcing to save money?…Well, obviously that doesn’t go over so well with those folks who are directly impacted, but even those that are left behind (I know there is a syndrome named after this) have all of the work that was in the hands of the fired employees dumped on them with no pay increase and no increase in the hours that they have available to get the job done. Outsourcing has a similar effect on the people removed, but the work is…supposedly…passed to others and in this case, the jobs left the country. Whatever choice the company makes, it usually cuts at the core of what and who the company once was, but those in the leadership roles who are most often motivated by short term incentives as well, really are not worried about the long term health of the organization.

In the short term there is upset and anger within the people that have been personally impacted by the downsizing/outsourcing etc. This creates personal stress, family stress, stress within their circle and it all leads to additional issues in society.  The assumption would be that there will be a period of time until these people are able to find a new place to work (if at all) and as a result will change their spending habits, buying less of everything, potentially increasing their debt and adding to the overall risk that they face. This extends to be a risk to our country’s finances should inflation and/or interest rates go up having another negative impact on the segment of the population caught in this growing group.

In the long term, if this type of action happens in more and more companies (open your eyes, it’s happening all around us) and more and more people face the same impact as the individuals above, then it means a lot less people buying a lot less of everything which completes the ugly cycle that we are in right now. Less people with jobs buying less of everything, those with jobs buying fewer products because they think they are next and the companies selling less of everything as a result…and what happens next?  These companies then fire more people to maintain their shrinking profit margins and the cycle begins all over again. It just keeps getting worse unless we start to do something about it.

So what is the solution? Well I am certainly no Einstein, Marx or Keynes and I am certainly not against people working hard and being rewarded for it, but it seems to me we all need to accept less. We need to understand that by accepting less individually (that includes the greedy individuals at the top of organizations making gazillions – when is enough, enough?) we all win as a society.  We need to see that a greater separation between the haves and the have nots is only going to increase the stress and pressure amongst us. That continuing to worry about the Jones’ and buying into continued consumerism will only require more access to money and we will continue to pressure organizations to keep filling our pockets (and theirs) with profits driven by the exact things that drove Gord Nixon and the leadership at RBC to make the decision that they did to outsource the IT roles…even though their first quarter profit for 2013 was 2.7BILLION dollars. Yep, first quarter.

So here is what you and we can do. The next time you show up to your Shareholder’s meeting or have an opportunity to discuss or impact any organization’s direction in whatever role you play, think twice about downsizing or outsourcing as a means to maintain double digit quarterly returns. For those of you who may not be in tight with such business decisions, speak up when you see other situations like the one at RBC. The more light that is placed on these issues in all businesses and industries the more likely it will be that organizations may reset their priorities to include the population that they ultimately serve and who buy their products.  In the world we are in today, the growth numbers of the past couple decades are not sustainable (of course there will be some exceptions) and if we don’t reset our expectations (profit and lifestyle), more Canadians than ever will be out of work, the government will have less people to tax and pay for what will be a growing need for services and we will ALL be worse off.

BUT, let me say this…There might actually be a beautiful golden pot at the end of this not so beautiful rainbow. If we can all (and it must be everyone simultaneously or it will fail) shift our expectations, accept that the past is the past and that the future will be different in how we value our life and lifestyles, if we can accept that he with more toys does not win and that work life balance really is a goal that is worthy of a achievement, we may actually create an even better society that is full of people who think about one another, share their wealth and take the time to smell the roses.

Fingers crossed.

Cheers,

Pete

Kicking off 2011 – The Power of the Consumer

 Welcome back everyone! I hope that everyone had a great break and enjoyed the benefits of the early sales, the lower prices and free offers that were presented all over the place.

 As we move into 2011 you have more control and power with business than every before. Be sure to demand better service, look for better prices online and when you don’t get good value for your hard earned dollars, begin to look elsewhere for the same or a similar product.

 Happy New Year!

 Cheers,
Pete

Virgin Airlines…what a great surprise!

 I have just returned from a trip to Los Angeles and when I looked to book the ticket a few days out from the trip the cheapest option was to fly Virgin Airlines. I had recently been told that Virgin was a good airline and have always had a great impression about Virgin and their amazing guest experiences.

 Well, I can tell you now that I like what they have to offer. It certainly has some of the same components that other airlines have, but I would have to say that Virgin has done a great job at finding ways to differentiate themselves from the completion. Virgin does not fly any routes within Canada and does not have large schedules to the US out of Canada, but if you do ever get to try them out, here are a few things that you are likely to see…or hear.

 They had tunes playing by the check in counter…love it!

  • Staff was friendly and helpful at all points except for one guy on my return home
  • Funky lights on in the plane when you board – simple, but different
  • Love the animated cartoon humour that explains the normal pre flight rules and regs versus the more traditional serious approach on other airlines
  • Was shocked to see the pilot come out of the cockpit to do the welcome message  to the passengers leaving Toronto… and when he said “we sincerely thank you for flying with us” I really thought he meant it!
  • At any time during the flight you can order food from the screen in front of you…anything, anytime.
  • Wireless internet service on the flight! It was free because of the holidays, but I would pay just about anything for free wireless on a flight!

 As I mentioned above, the schedule in Canada is a little challenging to fly Virgin, but if you enjoy some of the services above as part of your flight, I am sure you will enjoy the Virgin Airlines experience.

 Cheers,
Pete