Entries in Business (47)
We are all inundated with a myriad of opinions, on the vagaries of customer service. It seems that every expert, analyst, pundit has a thought on "customer service" in this age of social media, review sites, and merchants seeking reviews.
Here is the deal...
If you have the feeling that some folks/businesses are missing the customer service boat in an age of social media you would be correct while other miss the boat big time.
You have the feeling that some businesses are so engrossed with themselves that they miss who is the customer you might be right again.
Being humble, and apologising gets lost in the trees of arriving at a not my fault excuse. You are right again.
Some industries are notorious for poor customer service, and perhaps you should not be surprised when you are at the receiving end from those industries. Try to get the carrier for your mobile device to do anything, unless there is a profit for them is a real challenge.
Auto dealers want you to rate them to embellish their image and public persona. If you are prompted to rate a sales person and/or a dealer wait some time and see how your relationship with that person or dealer develops.
Folks in the restaurant and hospitality business, the ones that have their act together are keenly aware that any customer empowered by social media can either embellish, or stain their service/quality/satisfaction image. While others still behave as if they are the only business on the planet, and could not care less.
Irrelevant of what business you are in, in an age of social media, and review sites. You know the saying "Walk in the other person's shoes"...be empathetic, understanding, reflect on the nature of your business, and more important why customers frequent your business.
This week we revisited several thoughts that caught our attention, from winter tires, maintenance, to reconditioning, and a few others in between. Some things never change as much as change is swirling all around it, they remain constant. They are constants, and folks struggle with that simple fact.
In the auto business there are a ton of individuals still immersed in the various aspects of techonology, overlooking the reality that they are in the people business. Go figure...
Canadian Sales - October
We are not surprised that its another record month, we anticipated a record month. What caught our attention, the Lexus NX is on fire, the VW "diesel gate" does not stop CMS from acquiring VW's when there are massive programs applied during the the month. Its all about mobility at a monthly payment once the metal resonates.
The Autoplex in dowtown Toronto is simply brilliant.
Our usual old race cars from Behind the Scenes at the Spa Classic.
When you connect dots the outcome must be simpler, smoother, seamless, more human, less technology.
Lets continue with The Colonel and connect more dots...
A: Under chassis service is enduring its the same dots from decades ago, some things don't change.
Q: Crawling under cars...
A: Love it, from a young age with jacks and cars on stands, to walking under cars on a lift, its enduring, the same dots all connect.
A: A ton of dots, that most folks are overlooking. Still in the people business, always in the people business. Still have to close a deal, and still horse traders. Folks today are connecting the wrong dots.
Q: The showroom can turn into a lengthy discussion...
A: Absolutely, its not the time.
A: Through the years you can measure success in a myriad of ways, and read a gazillion opinions. Its always the same dots, the same parameters. While dealing with an increased level of "you know what". Succes in 2015 also implies heightened empathy.
A: Its a loaded word in 2015...and a rare commodity. The dots are all there, with many folks trying to connect them differently. While leaving numerous dots unconnected. "Why put your behind on the line when you can hide behind a Powerpoint?"
A: The auto business races the product it sells, when the product races its "head up". You can also subscribe to "bracket racing" and/or "spotting lengths" (to use drag racing terms). The most exciting is heads up, its also the one that is more demanding. Its the same dots from decades ago...
Q: Big data...
A: You can connect, and uncover new dots with big data. Premium Economy is the result of using big data. Common platforms too. Used astutely it connects disparate dots that generate an advantage. Big data brings hidden dots to the forefront.
Q: We can keep on going for quite some time...
A: Yes we can...but should we?
Q: Should folks make an additional effort to connect dots that seem totally unrelated.
A: Technology is an equaliser, it empowers, but also equalises. In the auto business you need an advantage, you play to win. Where do you find the advantage? By using the same technology that equalises, and empowers everyone else?
Q: You could say the same thing about life.
A: Precisely, but we are not here to tell folks how to lead their personal lives. We do suggest that you build your own intelligence data base, while being your own editor, and connect dots.
With a couple of weeks left in the Dog Days of Summer, hopefully you will take advantage of the remaining time, and enjoy your family and friends. Its been exciting this year and perhaps not relaxed as the usual Dog Days of years back.
Agreed, times change...its been a lively summer.
Would you agree that perhaps this summer we have learned that not "everything" keeps on going up and up, and some "stuff" gets a reality check. You can fill in for yourself everything and stuff.
A quick flavor of where oil prices are headed Oil's New Normal...not really going up anytime soon.
Over a decade ago The Colonel learned that business e-mail exchanges can easily be presented in court as evidence. You have to truly wonder why folks forget that e-mails, Facebook, Twitter, Text Messages in the digital world that we live in have en enduring life, and can be interpreted in a myriad of fashions.
What happened to "eyeballing an individual in a conversation"...go figure.
Fascinating thoughts by Google on #Elxn 42 The Digital Election
If you missed our "random thoughts" which are attracting attention, just scroll down.
The various auctions at Pebble Beach last week, Ferrari prices were/are in the "nose bleed" section, you have to be part of the 0.01% to afford these cars. Browse through the RM Sotheby's results.
A stunning photo gallery from the Pebble Beach Concours...enjoy
You have surely noticed that every manufacturer is on a constant search and quest to save money in one fashion or another. From increased common platforms, and components, to a variety of alliances to share more components.
Finally comes the time to put all this stuff together and turn it into a car (vehicle), obvious that finding the least expensive area/jurisdiction on the planet that makes sense is always on the agenda. Part of being competitive is emulating the other guy that seems to have an advantage, and then the other guy too...and so on.
Lets look back a few decades or even longer...
Back then when manufacturers made a decision to open an assembly plant in Canada, the lower value of the CDN dollar was always a factor, as well as health care, and probably a bunch of subsidies too. Lets also keep in mind that from the auto pact onward there has always been car free trade between Canada and the US.
For decades it made sense to assemble vehicles in Canada, and ship them to the US.
Going even further back...Henry Ford quickly understood that paying a decent wage enabled his employees to afford his product.
With the increased prominence of Mexico as a cheaper jurisdiction to initially assemble components, and now vehicles. Lately it seems all wrong to assemble vehicles in Canada.
You have to wonder what sort of spreadsheet Ford is using to justify investing additional money at their Oakville plant, while other are finding Canada too expensive for one reason or another. Toyota has the same spreadsheet as Ford for their Cambridge plant.
Operating a robot in various jurisdictions must be close to the same cost...reflect on this for a moment.
Imagine for a moment Mercedes-Benz shutting their Sindelfingen plant, or BMW the Munich plant, or Porsche Zuffenhausen, or VW Wolfsburg.
In Canada, GM is synonymous with Oshawa, Ford Oakville, Chrysler Windsor....
Have you noticed how many apply a spin to the transparency. Which begs the question "How transparent is it?"
A few examples...
Yes or No
The simple transparent clear answer would be a yes or no. Simple...or not. How often does it get complex with qualified answers that are at times almost spun out of control.
Make It As You Go
This one is precious..."We don't have all the facts, details, but we are transparent and we make it as we go for the sake of transparency."
Surprising how adept humans are at making it as you go, subscribing to un informed platitudes, while remaining on a thought vector that is at best vague, and will continue to reinforce making it as you go.
Agreed..."making it as you go" is very close to "bulls@#t"
But its all transparent...
Narrow Band of Transparency
Its the "We are transparent within these parameters/guidelines." Outside of the parameters, its opaque, it obfuscates, its un informed, it wastes time.
We could keep on going, but you surely grasp our thoughts, as usual you have to be your own editor at all times, especially in an environment that promotes transparency.
What do you think...
Lets see what is on our minds this morning.
Yes we have an affinity for horsepower, and it was exciting to see American Pharaoh win the Triple Crown at Belmont on Saturday. Fascinating that Penny Chenery was in the stands. If you watched the previous 2 races, Espinosa the jockey changed strategy for Belmont, take the lead, and extend the lead in the stretch.
Its surprising that no one has yet caught up to whatever advantage Mercedes has, all the talk about Ferrari having a additional horsepower. Agreed Montreal was buzzing all of last week with a ton of F1 activities.
By now you know that we have a Ram Big Horn with an Eco Diesel. This pick up is very economical, surprisingly economical. The thought that crossed our minds "If Mercedes-Benz actually builds a pick up it will be a close to this Eco Diesel"
Behind Closed Doors
These past few days we have been reminded of all the activities that go on Behind Closed Doors, and how discreet everyone is about the decisions and out comes. You have to ask pointed questions and even then...
Way back in the days of "mechanical cars" being a good driver was an aspiration. Today with vehicles full of technology, driving is a required evil to get around. Yes...self driving cars might do a better job.
The one thing it did not do this past year is go to the Caribbean, The Colonel opted for a smaller briefcase.
Yes...still attracts attention especially in airports.
Dave Munson of Saddleback is correct, after 4 years still looks new, with hardly any wear showing. It actually looks better now with the start of a patina.
Remains very useful to carry all sorts of technological devices (laptop, smart phones, camera), and old school stuff like a writing pad, pens, spare change, lip balm to name a few.
Especially if you have an aversion to syntethic material, wheeled cases with a handle that are so common in airports. Lets not forget the usual back packs that you see all over the place.
Its a unique, cool, durable leather briefcase in our case ideal for business use and travel.
This morning we have The Colonel with us, he has not been around for some time, been a busy guy lately from what we hear.
Lets get him going with a few questions, and dispense with the niceties. Its a One on One with The Colonel.
Q: Colonel why do you do it?
A: Guys you mean Strada...simple PASSION, and after all these years there is even more passion.
Q: How much time do you spend/invest in Strada?
A: Depends on what is going on, a few hours...lets leave it at that.
Q: How come you are not a member of any club/association/guild?
A: Simple...STRADA is the publication, its the platform, agreed its a boutique publication. A free lancer needs to belong to "something" to provide a base, foundation. As you know we belong to Strada...
Q: You always mention that one needs to be their own editor, there are a myriad of pundits publishing on a myriad of platforms.
A: Absolutely, in some respects its a good thing (disseminating news), in others there is a ton of sh#t floating around. Fascinating when you apply pressure to "pedestrian" knowledge it quickly recedes.
Q: There's a ton of pundits disseminating pedestrian knowledge.
A: Its the nature of the Internet and Social Media there is a substantial layer of pedestrian knowledge being disseminated...that its probably disintermediating real knowledge. Think about that for a moment.
Q: Pedestrian disintermediating real...its thought provoking.
A: Yes ...it is..but for another time.
Q: You mention boutique publication...care to expand?
A: If an individual wants to read comments, editorials that will provoke their thinking they will find Strada interesting and informative, and incite them to be reflective. In essence Strada is not for everyone...its never been for folks that are seeking pedestrian knowledge.
Q: Perhaps at times you are too far ahead of the 8 Ball?
A: Yes...in some respects its not a good thing to attract more eyeballs. Its the editorial direction of Strada. We push the envelope, ask questions that raise a thought process.
Q: Your thought leadership might intimidate some folks?
A: Sure it does...not the best for eyeballs, but great to uphold the editorial position. We have not wavered in countless years now.
Q: Being ahead of the 8 Ball provides a competitive advantage in the auto business.
A: That's what its all about, its a competitive business, everyone is seeking an advantage. By the time its pedestrian knowledge its no longer ahead or an advantage...need I say more.
Q:Some folks might have a challenge grasping being ahead.
A: Sure they do...the reason we are a boutique publication.
Q:Do you have some examples of being ahead.
A: Wow that's a loaded question. 1- We mentioned a few months ago that low oil, low CDN dollar, presumed cheap gas, higher food prices were on the immediate horizon...most folks were talking about cheap gas presumably saving consumers a ton of money. 2- Long loan terms provide mobility not ownership...most folks relate long loan terms to longer lasting vehicles.
Q: Do you rattle cages?
A: If sharing prescient thinking, being on a thought leadership vector rattles cages, let the folks that feel rattled catch up and get ahead of the 8 Ball.
Q: Its still PASSION?
A: Absolutely...a ton of passion.