Categories
Business Development & Marketing General Turnaround

Customer care is essential in today’s economic climate

It may be premature and alarmist to speak of an impending financial crisis, but when the markets, including financial, economic and trading situations, are as uncertain as they have been since the start of 2016 businesses may be wise to rein in their growth ambitions for a while and focus, among other things, on customer care.
It is easy to forget that your customers are human beings and to win their loyalty they need to feel valued, appreciated and treated with respect. How often and for what purpose, for instance, do you communicate with clients or customers?
Rather than only communicating with them when the underlying reason, however tactfully put, is to make a sale or meet a target, it is worth engaging in regular conversation or exchanging ideas or just asking after their wellbeing.

Talking to customers can generate new ideas

customer care - is there something you should be doing?Asking for feedback or carrying out a customer satisfaction survey can be useful not only to retain customer loyalty but also to enable a business to plan ahead for when conditions are more favourable for investing in growth, new products and services.
It may be that the solutions they need to their problems have changed and a simple letter or conversation can not only improve customer satisfaction and retention but also provide a business with valuable information that will enable it to provide a better, or excellent, service.
Equally, an inquiry will convey that your business cares about them and their concerns, will listen to them, and is committed to providing the best service that it can.
Having started a dialogue it is also important to respond. Let them know what you have learned and perhaps invite them to make further comments.
Essentially when business conditions are difficult or uncertain there is still a great deal a business can do, not only to protect itself and retain loyal customers but also to develop new ideas for the future.

Categories
Banks, Lenders & Investors Cash Flow & Forecasting General Rescue, Restructuring & Recovery Turnaround

Calls for Private Equity investment to stimulate growth

There has been a chorus of voices recently wanting to see private enterprises or Private Equity firms investing to stimulate a recovery and growth, both in the UK and Europe.
It’s all very well demanding someone else invest money but why should they? There are many ‘zombie’ companies that could be ripe for investment but in effect are overvalued due to the debt burden which will almost certainly never be repaid. These firms need restructuring with bank lenders prepared to take a hit if they are to be attractive for investors.
The chorus may not be aware that investors normally rank behind the bank, or are they hoping investors are naïve enough to underwrite the bank debt by pouring good money after bad? Private Equity companies rarely have either the time or the patience to spend on business improvement as most rely on financial restructuring followed by a swift exit to deliver a huge return on investment to their own investors.
Another factor is Private Equity’s reliance on cheap and easy money to recover their investment by refinancing assets and to realize profits by funding a sale where the lending market underwrites their returns. This is how many of the banks were left with bad debts so it may be a while before they return to providing cheap and easy money.
Private Equity firms, like most alternative investments, depend on their ability to attract funds from investors who want to see an adequate return, normally in a relatively short period. 
Since the financial crisis began many investments by Private Equity have been locked in due to the inability to refinance or sell their investments, which has impacted on their return to investors and thus on their ability to raise new funds.