How WH Ireland Are Setting a Template for Growth in Difficult Times 47

How WH Ireland Are Setting a Template for Growth in Difficult Times

The following article is a guest post.

The economic climate is providing a challenge for businesses at present, despite companies in the UK recording improved profit growth year-on-year. Much of this has to do with the looming shadow of Brexit and the uncertainty created by geopolitical issues elsewhere in the world, such as Catalonia’s drive to become an independent European state.

Some businesses are blazing a trail for others to follow, however, with WH Ireland providing a relevant case in point.

But how is this firm setting a template for growth, and what can other firms learn from this? Let’s take a look:

How are WH Ireland expanding?

Recently, the WH Ireland brand has agreed to take on 6,610 feet of new office space at its Manchester base, which takes pride of place in the city’s One New Bailey office development. The 10-year agreement will cover the first floor of the building, while it represents an exciting growth strategy that has been empowered by exceptional performance during the last year or more.

This manifested itself in the form of impressive quarter one figures for 2017. Not only did the firm report that the cumulative value of private client assets had risen by 8% to break beyond the £1 billion mark for the first time, for example, but total assets within the business also increased by 4% to more than £3 billion. Clearly, the wealth planning team performed exceptionally well during 2016, creating a foundation from which the business could grow sustainably and well into the future.

What lessons can be taken from WH Ireland’s recent success?

On a fundamental level, WH Ireland’s success proves that it’s possible for firms to grow regardless of the economic climate and underlying market conditions. Beyond this, however, there is also much to be admired by the firm’s growth strategy, which is enabling the company to remain true to its Manchester roots (where is has operated since the 19th century) and expand in an undeniably seamless manner. As a result, they can also retain a core brand identity and reinforce their commitment to the local economy, helping them to retain an edge in a competitive market.

WH Ireland have also driven organic and sustainable growth, by building on their own performance and profitability rather than relying solely on wider economic conditions. They have also looked to expand at a time when the demand for their services is peaking, creating a sustainable flow of income that minimises the need to borrow. These are all lessons that businesses in any marketplace can adhere to, particularly as they look to grow in an increasingly unpredictable climate.

The last word

Above all else, WH Ireland is a business that profits on the back of its client successes. It therefore has a vested interest in ensuring that individual and commercial investors grow with them, so the trail that they are continuing to blaze is one that entrepreneurs should be following closely at present.

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The Five Elements of Flawless Customer Experience 10

The Five Elements of Flawless Customer Experience

Providing a flawless customer experience is the ultimate goal for any business.

There’s a lot that goes into creating a customer experience that keeps your clients coming back for more. In fact, there’s so much involved that it can almost seem overwhelming.

However, providing a flawless customer experience becomes much easier when you approach the task through these five distinct elements:

Time
Understanding
Ownership of Emotions
The Unexpected
Follow-Through

Time

When it comes to your customers’ satisfaction, time is essential. Think of how a great experience at a new restaurant quickly sours if you’re left waiting for your food to arrive. Think of how your excitement over a great department store sale turns into frustration as you stand in line for what seems like hours.

Time is your most valuable resource and it is up to you to make sure you’re using your customers’ time wisely.

This is why restaurants have comfortable waiting areas with drinks and appetizers, or why airports have lounges with restaurants, shops, and even bars.

If your customers are being forced to wait for a service, make them feel as if their time spent is not wasted. The more positive drivers you offer customers, the less likely they are to grow dissatisfied with their experience.

Think of how you can implement this in your own business. Are there places where you can help fill customers’ time? Are there places where technology can be used to cut down on the time it takes to complete a task? Remember, it’s the customers’ time that should be valued, not your own.

Understanding

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You must understand what your customers want, when they want it, and how.

While this may seem daunting, getting a better understanding of your customers doesn’t take millions of dollars, complex data analytics, and a degree in psychology. Instead, all it takes is a simple look. Watch their process, engage with them, ask them questions, and listen to them.  

How are customers interacting with your product? What’s the first thing they do when they enter your store? What’s the last thing they do before they leave? How long are they spending in each department? Do you notice anything that hampers their experience?

Take a look at your competitors. How are your potential customers interacting with them? What does this business offer that you don’t or vice versa? What is your, as Harvard Business School professor Clayton M. Christensen says, “job to be done?” What are your customers hiring your product or service to accomplish? Understand why your users are turning to your products.

Ownership of Emotions

Many companies have already taken hold of their customers’ emotions, though cynically. Subliminal advertising is a key example. However, the ownership of emotions does not have to be cynical. When used correctly, it can be the “holy grail” for companies.

Owning emotions begins with the aforementioned ability to understand. When you truly understand a customer’s choices and then act to make the experience better, you’re building a relationship of trust. That trust is the foundation of emotional ownership.

One way to build this trust is to reduce the “emotional” noise that surrounds your customers. Let them know that, even on their worst day, your business or product is there for them and that it will be a constant in their lives.

Think of restaurants and the long wait times you have to endure when they’re busy. Think of how angry—or “hangry”—you feel as you stand around, waiting for your table, and listening to your stomach growl. However, think of how some restaurants are able to reduce that emotional noise by serving you finger foods and drinks as you wait.

Also, seek to understand what emotionally motivates your customers.

Why should they be motivated to visit your store or use your product? To feel confident? Free? Unique? Secure? Successful? Research shows that all human beings are motivated by one of those factors.

The Unexpected

Experiences become stronger and more memorable when they’re accompanied by an element of surprise. Surprise can be addictive, which will only keep your customers coming back for more.

Think about mailing your customers or clients small packages with gifts and swag. Everyone loves to get mail and everyone loves free stuff, especially when it’s least expected.

A surprise doesn’t have to be a huge flash mob (though it could be!). Hand out snacks at your store. Is it a cold day? Give your customers hot chocolate or warm punch. Is it a client’s birthday? Send a card! Even a small note of thanks for a customer’s business is a nice little surprise.

The most important thing to remember: simply be sincere and don’t become predictable. Chocolates on hotel pillows were once a great surprise for guests. However, now that their wow-factor has faded, hotels are continuously trying to get back to the “unexpected.”

Follow-Through

You’ve made promises and established goals. The only thing that’s left is to follow through on them. This starts with creating your mission statement, one that you, your employees, and your customers can commit to it. This will define your customer experience.

Your mission statement must promise to impact yourself/your business, the community, or the world. It may commit to impacting one, or all three. However, whatever it promises, you must follow through on. Your customers’ trust, and thus their experience, depends on it.

More about these five elements can be discovered in Unforgettable: Designing Customer Experiences that Stick, to be published in 2018.

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Kyle H. David has made a career in technology and entrepreneurship for nearly 20 years. In 2001, he formed The Kyle David Group, now KDG. Over the past 16 years, KDG has grown at a rapid pace, attracting clients ranging from the United States Senate to major financial institutions, international nonprofits, and Division I universities.