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JQ262, Auckland Bound | 500 Words

JQ262, Auckland Bound - 500 Words

This morning I find myself writing my 500 words at Mojo Coffee Cartel, Wellington Airport, Auckland bound.

As I drink my coffee I realise I may have time to connect to the internets and download my email. Then it occurs to me that I can possibly get away today's 500 words before my flight. Victory!

Auckland is my oft'times destination these days (since 2008) mostly on Jetstar flight JQ262. Thanks to cheap air-travel & cheap car rentals via Jucy it's well affordable these days to do a monthly commute north out of the capital to New Zealand's only biggish city.

I always find my visits north highly productive.

My rules of engagement are to attend lots of external meetings over a short space of time with interesting people. Over time I have come to a view that Aucklanders are more polite than Wellingtonians - but this could be a weather shock induced hallucination, or it could be due to the lower density of public servants.

Opportunity lurks in these encounters, in the synchronicity of business communication objectives of clients and prospects. Where a range of different organisational objectives are in alignment, there lurks the opportunity. At least that’s the way I see it.

My principal public engagement on this week's visit is tonight's Roy Morgan Research (RMR) Customer Satisfaction Awards.

This morning I am interviewing the Debnath Guharoy, RMR Regional Director - Asia Pacific.

Scoop is a satisfied customer of Roy Morgan Research.

I would easily rank the quality of our collaborative working relationship with them in our top 10 supplier relationships. While RMR is not yet a satisfied customer of Scoop's - this is something we are actively working on.

In the meantime we collaborate. We have been collaborating and experimenting with different ways of working together for a couple of years now and an experiment we ran last year is the second focus of my visit to Auckland today.

When this campaign first aired on Scoop's Youtube Channel, Scoop Shareholder and family friend Ian Brackenbury (who is also a customer of the client) dubbing me "Kirkcaldies Man."

Today the client - Wellington retail legend Kirkcaldie & Stains - is a contender to win the Department Store of the Year award for a second time. The winner will be determined on the night with two companies in contention - Kirkcaldies and Ballantynes. It’s a Wellington vs Christchurch thing. In results announced already "Kirks" has won 6 months and Ballantynes 5. If Kirkcaldies win December 2012 then they take the title for the year, and if Ballantynes win then it’s a tie. Both department stores are currently achieving remarkably high rates of customer satisfaction.

Working with Lyn Tait and her team at Kirks in 2012 on this campaign was my personal marketing highlight for 2012.

What we did just worked. While the mode of communication was faux news, the outcome felt like authenticity. You can check it out for yourself in the following videos which were the final output from the project (feedback to the author is welcome).

As you can see at Kirkcaldie & Stains, "the customer is always right", even when they are not.

This is what the staff of Kirk's consistently told me when documentary maker and former Scoop co-editor Selwyn Manning and I ambushed them on the shop floor over a two day period last year.

In the course of becoming "Kirkcaldies Man" I discovered a great deal more about Kirkcaldies. This is an institution which holds customer service at the very center of their business strategy. And as a result for Kirks their victory last year was particularly sweet.

When I showed Lyn and her staff a graph (above) showing the amazing improvement in customer satisfaction performance at Kirks over the past two years (in 2010 and 2011) - up to levels of 95% satisfied. They were all delighted and intensely proud of their achievement. I have my fingers crossed that they will win again.

- Alastair Thompson, 500 Words, 28/02/2013 11:56:36 a.m.

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