Alongside attending the workshop I've been listening to segments from the Enlightened Business Summit hosted by the Shift Movement.
The Shift Movment has organised several free teleseminars that I've listened to over the last few months. Of course because it's American based, the majority of the speakers are American but in this last summit there have been representatives from India, the UK. Listening to a number of teleseminars in a short period can become numbing but it's possible to download the audio which means you have time to reconsider at leisure.
This particular series has been about how to create businesses that are sustainable but working from a purpose greater than merely making profit. One thing that came up time and again was the question of value for the customer and how to measure the intangible results for them. It was interesting to hear this echoed at the workshop I wrote about yesterday.
For example the MC for the series Chip Conley is CEO of Joi de Vivre which is a chain of boutique hotels. He was talking about working out what your company does and how to be successful even in the challenging circumstances we all have, we should ask ourselves the question more than once.
For him, providing accommodation is only the beginning. Providing a home from home starts to make you think about how you can create a service based on the intangibles of what we need in a night's hotel stay. As an aside, for me towels are never big enough.
I can remember reading Stuart Wilde discussing hotels and how to provide service. He argued that he would build in a cost for all the items that people traditionally liberated from their hotel rooms and how he would positively encourage people to take away bathrobes and towels on the basis that every time someone used them at home it would give them a good feeling about the hotel experience.
Sustaining a business at the moment is tough for many and sustaining your values in the business is even tougher. Gill Heppell who runs the care company I spoke about yesterday talked about how the hiring process is one of the key indicators for her. She won't take people with only a care home background because they have become set in their ways of delivering service and what she needs is flexibility.
Many of the people who spoke at the workshop on Friday, talked about how they in their particular sectors felt undervalued. It's not only the money which of course is important, but being appreciated for the way you work and the effort you put into your job.
Bring it back to writing for business, being valued is an element in thinking about connecting with the customer. Whatever product or service you provide, if your customer feels undervalued in many of their everyday activities,from work to family to shopping, how can we assure them athey can trust us nd design in care for them in their transactions with us?