Your Business is a Community #71 #cong19

Synopsis:

Your business is a community and to be successful you need to focus on growing your members by listening to them. Allow them to become part of how you run your business. Develop your culture around respect, transparency and mutual benefits. Do this by talking to your customer, your staff and trade partners. Make it a weekly habit, gain insight into what is important and relevant to them. Your members are your greatest asset so treat them with the value and respect they deserve.

Key Takeaways:

  1. Treat your customer, staff and suppliers as your greatest assets and make them feel members of your community
  2. Don’t lose sight of what is important, look after your customers and give them a great product and service and they will be part of your community.
  3. Communicate to your members in a way which is of value to them, don’t be irrelevant.
  4. People Buy People so enlist your members to become advocates for your business.

About John Horkan:

Co-owner and CEO of Horkan’s Group. John has over 30 years’ experience in business. His main responsibility is the strategic direction of Horkans Group and leading the eCommerce development across the businesses. He is pass Chairman of Retail Excellence Ireland’s e-Commerce Committee and he has participated in the Google Incubation Program for Irish Retailers. John is a founder member of DMiMayo Digital Marketing in Mayo network group. He represented Ireland at the Global E-commerce Summit in Barcelona in 2013.

Horkan’s Group is a family business that operates 4 Horkan’s Garden & Lifestyle Centre’s and 8 Petworld stores in locations across Ireland along with two eCommerce sites Horkans.ie and Petworlddirect.ie

Contacting John Horkan:

You can follow John on Twitter, connect with him on LinkedIn or email him.

By John Horkan

It makes perfect sense that every business is its own community, one which is thriving and growing or one which is declining and going out of business. It is made up of your customers, staff and suppliers. To be the one which is thriving you need to continually grow your customer base. If people feel they are part of a community they are more likely to return. Customer retention is one of the most important success factors in any business, Researchers at Brain have found that increasing retention by 5% can increase profits by as much as 25% to 95%.

The experts tell us about the need to change all the time, the pressure to keep up with the latest trends, new technology, chasing the market as it changes and evolves. Our businesses are under constant pressure to implement the latest new thing in marketing and customer service but a lot of time we lose sight of what is important, what are the things which keep our business healthy and relevant.

Recently I received a copy of an advert my great grandfather P.A.Horkan placed in the Connaught Telegraph on 15th Dec 1910. He had listed 5 testimonials from a few of his customers highlighting the excellent service they had received. P.A. was a plumber and was the first in the area to install sanitary systems to the large houses and businesses in the area. It struck me as ironic that we think business has evolved so much over the last 109 years but the basics are still the same. In our business we use Trust Pilot to get customer feedback and enable them to rate our service is a very public way. We also use the Net Promoter Score to get feedback and measure our customer satisfaction. We are in a time where the power has moved to the consumer and they are very quick to point out when our service is not up to scratch. Google reviews, Trip Advisor and many more review sites are bringing transparency to the whole customer experience. Things have changed but things are very much the same. If you look after your customers and give them a great product and service they will be part of your community, if you don’t they will leave and become part of someone else’s community.

Nowadays we have big data, Crm systems, online 24/7 always on devices, so communication has never been easier and transparency is a lot stronger. Fake news has had its day and is been outed by the collective masses who understand when they are being manipulated. As Abraham Lincoln said “You can fool all the people some of the time, and some of the people all of the time, but you cannot fool all the people all the time.” When we communicate to our members we need to do this in a way which is of value to them. If we bombard them with irrelevant information, too many email on our next great promotion or show up to many a time when they are on line we just turn them off.

Look at your business as a community which needs to be listened to, nurtured and engaged. Allow them to become part of how you run your business. Develop your culture around respect, transparency and mutual benefits. Aim for success over the long term by being an active member of your community. Do this by talking to your customer, your staff and trade partners. Make it a weekly habit, gain insight into what is important and relevant. In this way you can make a better decision on how to support your community. Your business grows when you are close and know the needs and wants of your members, you can respond in a timely manner. Make your decisions around what is right for your community, not short term goals or targets.

Your community members are every business’s greatest assets, they don’t appear on a balance sheet but are more valuable than all the assets listed there. The most successful businesses around today understand this and have managed to enlist their members to become advocates for their business. People Buy People and treating everyone as a member of your community, who you value and respect, will allow the right culture to develop. Do this and success will follow.

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