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Lessons For Business Start-ups
Kier Group Plc, a large construction business that, like Carillion, is also a provider to government construction projects has been in the news following revelations of its troubled financial situation.
Kier Group was the second largest construction company in the UK behind Balfour Beatty. After the failure of Carillion, the company took over some of Carillion’s employees and contracts to work on several smart motorway projects and the HS2 high-speed rail project. Kier Group’s problems started to come to light in 2018 with a rights issue where the open market shares came to be worth more than the rights issue shares exposing the issue’s underwriters with losses. The problems faced by Kier have led to announcements of restructuring and job losses IN AN ATTEMPT to keep the company viable.
What can Business Start-ups learn from Kier’s Experiences?
Although Kier is a long-established business, founded in 1928, the primary lesson from Kier’s problems is that companies need to ensure that they can walk before they run. Kier’s expansion in the 21st century has been mainly through acquisition. Revenue growth has not been organic, based upon the competencies of the management team and workers but by adding other businesses, often failing ones to their core.
Acquisitions seem to have led to a lack of focus upon building upon the success of the core business but instead, a need to focus upon correcting the failures of the acquired operations; as one employee put it, “A very forward-thinking company that has the technology of a 00’s start-up.
Business is screaming for improvement and streamlining, “too many fingers in too many pies?” A common theme running through comments about the business by current and former employees was of disorganised management who seem to be putting out fires rather than developing a coherent culture and growing the business. In essence, the managers are managing failure, not success.
A successful business, especially a start-up, will almost invariably have a laser-sharp focus upon the purpose of the company and they implement focus by building a culture in which all members of the team have a shared vision. Without these, no matter how large the business becomes, eventually, the outcome is failure.
I do not think that Kier would go into liquidation, but lessons should be learnt from the Carrilion saga.
The UK need companies like Kier who provide great infrastructure projects.
The company has lots of assets and just need to step back and restructure.
With Warm Regards
For many companies, a good chunk of their budget may go to marketing or even production. While all these could use some padding, when a budget is too low or when a company waits for a return on investment in these categories, an investment in reliable customer service will always improve a company’s reputation.
The customer service portion of a company is just as significant, if not more so than all the others. Customer service is, after all, a direct connection between the customer and the business. Understanding and improving customer service is essential to a business’s growth and longevity. Below are some great examples of why excellent customer service is a must-have in today’s business atmosphere.
Seven Customer Service Needs for Every Business
1. Customer Retention over Customer Acquisition: Retaining customers is the best bet for many companies. A mere 5% can equal an increase of 25% in profit. As customer shopping trends change, the repeat customer spends more, around 67% more, which means operating costs for a business is less.
2. A brand is more than just an image, mission statement, or set of values: Customers can’t get inside a business’s head. They make assumptions off social media, ads, and other external marketing ploys. This is why having a customer service team to connect with customers is the best way to present your brand to them. Customers influence others and give you strength over the completion.
3. Happy employees create happy customers: Valuing your employees is the base of great customer service. An appreciated employee will go above and beyond the call of duty to help a customer and meet their needs. Accordingly, 87% of all employees who love their jobs work harder for the customer.
4. Satisfied customers refer others: The more a customer is happy, the more likely they’ll tell others about your company. About 77% of customers share their experience with others. This includes friends, family, and even coworkers.
5. Exceptional customers service breeds loyalty: If a customer has a great experience with your company, the chances of them coming back are even better as there’s no reason to go elsewhere. It is cheaper to retain a customer than acquire a new one.
6. Customers pay more where the customer service is better: Fifty percent of all customers spend more after shopping with a company with excellent customer service. In fact, some will even pay more to get a better experience as they know the quality of service is worth it.
7. Employees can offer insights about your customers: Your customer service team are in direct connection to the customers they serve. They talk to them and see what they need or want. While customer surveys are good, simple probing questions from the employees can offer much more insight as to what the customer needs.
Without great customer service, a company will fail or fall behind on upcoming trends that shift with the season and economy. Having a well-trained customer service team can make your company shine with their ability to communicate directly to the customers. This can not only revolutionize your company’s reputation but grow and retain your customer base as well.