Customer loyalty comes from loving your business and having pride in doing the best that you can


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This is the eighth in a series of interviews with CEOs that were included in a book I wrote in late 2010 called RARE Business. It was a collection of thoughts, ideas and strategies to help businesses ‘build better relationships with their customers and their people’. You can pick up an electronic copy of the book for free by clicking on the SECOND button down in the left hand column or by clicking here.

The interviews were included to supplement my own thoughts and experience and add richness, depth and context. In the interviews, I asked them what they have done to drive their business’ success, customer focus and how they have built their employee and customer engagement.

The last interview in the series was with Henry Stewart of Happy and is featured in Create an enjoyable customer experience and get a Net Promoter Score of 70%.

This time round it is the turn of Alison Fydler of Firefish. Founded in January 2000, Firefish has rapidly progressed to become the largest independent qualitative research company in the UK. They are still going from strength to strength and have recently opened another office in the Netherlands. What makes them stand out is that they provide the very best research and insight to some of the most successful and influential companies across the world. To do this they maintain and develop their passion for brands, their communication and the cultural worlds in which they exist. This is manifest in the dynamic and creative approach to research questions that they are proud to be known for.

Alison Fydler, Firefish’s Chairman, agreed to talk to us and share some insights about what has made her business so successful in retaining customers, building a great team and driving repeat business and growth.

Here are some of her insights:

  1. We are excellent at what we do. That may sound crass, but actually in today’s world of business, profit margins, targets and larger corporations owning many of our competitors, excellence is not always easy to find, and the reason for working not always clearly defined. We built the company based on a love of our business and pride in doing the best that we can, both to gain customers’ loyalty, but also for our own sense of fulfilment. This has always been the essence of who we are and all the members of the team are of the same sentiment.
  2. We have also been very clear about what we do. Again, in a world where business boundaries merge together, it’s often difficult to distill what offering a company has. We do premium, strategic consumer qualitative research. We are not a brand consultancy, we are not consultants, we are excellent researchers.
  3. We are also enjoyable to work with! Intelligent and fun has been relayed back to us often. Work takes up a lot of our time, so we make it as enjoyable as possible.
  4. Own up to and learn from your mistakes. We all make mistakes occasionally and do not deliver excellence all of the time. The key is to internalize those mistakes, own up to them, learn from them and hopefully not make the same mistake twice.
  5. Everyone knows where we are going and what we are aiming to achieve. We have company objectives that all are aware of. All know what we are doing, why we are doing it, what for and where we are going. It makes the journey all the more fruitful and pleasant
  6. Training is key. Objectives are set in collaboration, line managers have regular meetings, internal training is excellent, external courses are attended when needed.
  7. We don’t take what we do for granted. We have a happiness and fulfilment survey every year to check on our progress and where we could do better.

This is another great example of an established business that is leading its industry, empowering its team and delivering value for its customers.

Can you learn anything from their approach?

Thanks to 10ch for the image.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Adrian Swinscoe
Adrian Swinscoe brings over 25 years experience to focusing on helping companies large and small develop and implement customer focused, sustainable growth strategies.


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