Astute Planning, Flawless Execution,
Delighted Customers

Issue #139

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Thriving While Others Hunker Down

In our continuing quest to promote optimism during these turbulent times, we share an article that provides an opportunity to learn from the past. In summary, times such as these make it more important than ever to ensure that you hang on to your existing customers and continuously improve your operational performance. If you'd like to learn the pragmatic approaches available to you to meet these objectives, simply give us a call. Doing so may very well be the key to your firm prospering in these turbulent times while others focus internally and thus lose sight of their single source of revenue (the customer).

Learning From The Past
by Robert Mannal

There is no doubt that we are currently in a recessionary period. Some observers are suggesting that this recession will be second only to the Great Depression in severity and economic impact.

Everyone in America felt the Great Depression. At its depths, over 25% of the labor force was unemployed, resulting in lost homes, widespread hunger, significant government intervention and social change. Many companies failed. However, some companies were able to carry on and, as a result, prospered when the economy turned around. What strategies did these companies employ and are they applicable in today's climate?

Reviewing the literature relating to this question suggests that customer-focusing companies survived and prospered. As one observer noted,

"Consumers didn't stop spending during the Depression, most just looked for better deals, and the companies producing those better deals came out stronger after the Depression ended."

He goes on to say:

"Both anecdotal and empirical evidence support the case that advertising was the main factor in the growth or downfall of companies during the Great Depression."1

Other writers have come to the same conclusion, i.e., that those companies who ignored their customers, or became invisible to their customers, and who did not offer a perceived value-add, failed.2

Three strategies for today, drawn from the Great Depression, are:

  1. Focus on existing and potential customers
  2. Provide perceived, differentiated value
  3. Keep your name in front of customers….don't allow them to forget you

A classic Business-to-Business ad for McGraw-Hill publications, written by David Ogilvy, poses the following:
"I don't know who you are
I don't know your company
I don't know your company's product
I don't know what your company stands for
I don't know your company's customers
I don't know your company's record
I don't know your company's reputation
Now – what was it you wanted to sell to me?"

This ad is as relevant now as it was then. It touches on the need to maintain customer contact and the need to use customers to spread the word about your products or services, a theme that is especially true in today's recessionary environment.

Companies who forget to position themselves in the market, or who lose touch with their customer base, risk being forgotten.

If you'd like to ensure that you maintain a high-level of customer satisfaction and loyalty, give us a call. We'd be happy to discuss our highly pragmatic programs that result in improving your customers' experience and the operational performance of your firm.

1"How Brands Thrived During the Great Depression" Dave Chase, October 17, 2008
2See also "Business Lessons from The Great Depression" October 8, 2008, Stacy Perman, Business Week; Google Answers, Re: Successful companies and industries during the Great Depression, especially the answer from digsalot-ga; Wiki Answers: What Businesses thrived during the Great Depression; "When the Going Gets Tough, The Tough Don't Skimp on their Ad Budgets" November 26, 2008, Knowledge@Wharton.

Robert Mannal is Managing Director of RHMinc, an IT Security Consulting firm. Previously he held management positions at Vericept, Network Engines, in the Information Risk Management Practice (IRM) of KPMG, at Security Dynamics (now RSA/EMC), and at Codex (Motorola). Mannal holds a BA from Lafayette, an MBA in Marketing from Wharton School of Business and is a Certified Information Privacy Professional (CIPP) and a Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP).

Serving Those (Still) In Need

On Monday, March 2, 2009 the First Baptist Church of Hudson, NH will again be sending a team to Biloxi, MS to work with Habitat for Humanity to help rebuild the Mississippi Gulf coast. This area was ravaged during Hurricane Katrina in August of 2005. Nearly 267,000 homes in the Gulf Coast area were either destroyed or damaged in the storm.

Much has been done, but there still remains a great need. At its peak, FEMA placed 44,000 trailers in the area to shelter storm victims. As of June, the last 7,000 occupied trailers were closed, sending hundreds of poor desperately hunting for affordable housing. Katrina's devastation has dropped off the national media radar screen, but we have not forgotten. Rebuilding the infrastructure of the Gulf Coast is an ongoing process and there is still a great deal of work to do. Habitat for Humanity currently requires 1,000 volunteers a week in areas along the Gulf Coast.

Each team member has been deeply affected by previous trips and once again, we are thrilled that we can be a part of this project. You can play a part too, by praying for the team, which is made up of: Ellie Cropley, Al Daigle, Bri Daigle, Torre Daigle, Pastor Jim Harrington, Clarice James, Mike Ledoux, Bruce Mostrom, Terry Mostrom, Tony Rice, Jayce Stella, Jessica Surro and Craig Bailey. Please pray for our protection, safe travel, good health, and ability to bring much needed relief to those who need it.

We are also seeking financial donations. The cost of the trip will be approximately $5,000. Your tax deductable donation can be made securely at:

Thanks for your support.



+ Thriving While Others Hunker Down

+ Learning From The Past

+ Serving Those (Still) In Need

+ Recommended Reading



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Recommended Reading
If you're interested in quality and customer service in our business, we highly recommend The Ice Cream Maker by Dr. Subir Chowdhury. This simple straight-forward book makes all other books on this subject seem like a waste of time. The Ice Cream Maker boils it down to the basics, which is where America needs to go ASAP: "back to the basics." This book is an absolute MUST READ for anyone who desires to take their company to the next level (from the CEO to the front-line customer service personnel).

More Satisfied Customers
Check out what some recent customers had to say about their experiences with Customer Centricity:

"Customer Centricity has been instrumental in making the Sophos customer survey program a reality. From concept to launch, the Customer Centricity team guided us quickly and expertly through the process. Their years of customer experience were instrumental in analyzing critical customer feedback allowing us to take swift and decisive action in a very short period of time. Our organization highly recommends Customer Centricity and will continue to leverage their expertise in our customer-facing programs."

Dick Faulkner
VP Sales & Operations, Americas
Sophos, Inc.

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In short, we align the resources of your organization to exceed your customers' expectations in the most effective and efficient manner possible.

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