Putting a face behind the figures
By Pamela Nast, Clear Choice Consulting
Working at any company involves a lot of numbers. Sales, profit, staff, complaints, customers, budgets, leavers, joiners, costs, income – the list goes on and on.
However, what we sometimes lose sight of, is that some of these numbers are people. Real people with hopes, fears and challenges that we can help with.
Let’s meet Carol. She is a 38-year-old married mum of two who lives in the Midlands and has worked for a number of years as a supervisor at a local office. She’s been there some time and is well paid for her work. She has two kids in school and her husband works at the local food factory. Carol and her family have lived in their house for a little over 10 years and everyone is settled and happy.
Doing the weekly shop, Carol notices that the price has started to go up. Her gas and electric monthly payments have increased by 50% a month and her petrol bills have also increased. They continue to make ends meet, even with the prices rising until one day disaster happens.
Carol’s husband, Mike, is made redundant from his job. As he’s been there 4 years, he receives a pay-out, but it won’t last too long. Unfortunately, Carol earns too much to be eligible for any additional support from the Government.
Carol is now in a place she’s never been in. Worried about paying the bills, Mike’s looking for work and the kids are wanting to go on holiday.
Whilst this is an example, it’s all too frequently happening to our consumers, customers and neighbours. As leaders, policy setters and influential people, we need to be asking ourselves, are we doing enough for the Carols and Mikes?
If Mike or Carol reach out, do we have the right training and support for our customer service people to ask the right questions and provide the right advice and assistance? Do we, or should we, have dedicated teams who are trained to handle those more detailed conversations when they are needed?
Does our website or app provide clear direction and signposting for the customers’ options? Are we making it as easy as possible for Carol or Mike to engage with us, in what is, in their eyes, a scary and embarrassing conversation?
If Mike or Carol aren’t engaging with us, are we going above and beyond to promote engagement and support, or are we blindly following the same old process?
We all have business pressures on costs, budgets and forecasts. By assessing and reviewing what you have, re-purposing existing spends and revising how and what you do, you can be surprised at how much you can support Carol, sometimes at no or very little cost.
Ultimately, what we would all like is for Carol and Mike to have support and an agreed upon plan, at a future date, when Mike is back in work and things are moving in the right direction.