Companies find adding value so hard, sometimes, that they abandon it, and, to my horror, some branches of this new religion called CRM (customer relationship management) actually encourage it.
There was a halfwit who was being paraded as the profit of CRM who suggested that quality and service could be dumped if one could determine, through CRM, that the customers were driven only by price and that those customers could be profitably harvested under those terms.
A supermarket chain was cited as a glittering example, their outlets are the sort of vast, grey concrete hangers, where sad people with snotty kids and fat arses waddle out with trolleys laden with dayglo orange and green soft drinks, forty-pound bags of cheap chocolate marshmallows, and twenty-four putty-coloured loaves of sliced bread.
Too miserable and depressing to even contemplate owning a company like that, but should you be so full of despair and lacking in joie de vivre that you open one of these places in competition, try throwing in a smile, a bit of service, some knowledgeable people, and you will scoop the pot. They do not realise how vulnerable they are. No-one in their game has nice, happy, value-adding people, so they believe, wrongly, that they don’t need them. Good people – your army – is the trojan horse that will allow you to tear those walls down.
Thought: if you are in a crap industry, just being consistently less crap than the competition will keep you ahead of the game.