This is the ninth 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 Alison Fydler of Firefish and is featured in Customer loyalty comes from loving your business and having pride in doing the best that you can.

This time round it is the turn of Grahame Lake of PSP Rare. The business was founded in 2002 and has grown to around £4million in revenue and 23 employees over the last 10 years. PSP Rare considers itself a small, but perfectly formed content agency, where they commission, create and design editorial content for Magazines, Websites, SEO, Digital PR and Social Networking for a broad range of clients in the Charity, Consumer, Business to Business and Government sectors.

They have worked for clients as diverse as Somerfield Stores, Kia Motors, British Heart Foundation, The Royal Society, UK Trade and Investment, Training and Development Agency for Schools and Adobe.

Grahame Lake, PSP Rare’s Managing Director, agreed to talk to us and share some insights about what has made his business so successful in retaining customers, building a great team and driving repeat business and growth.

Grahame also shared with some insights on what he believes they do that has helped them build a truly customer-focused business and team. Here are some of his insights:

  1. Excellence made easy. Excellent products backed by first class process and planning that make the production and delivery of the product easy for the client.
  2. Become the go-to people. Experienced and motivated front line staff who understand that the client is often under pressure and we should be the team that solve their problems. That means we are flexible, go the extra yard and do not levy punitive charges is everything hasn’t gone to plan. It means we are often the first call when the client needs a short term quick fix.
  3. Increase the switching costs Do something that is low revenue, constant but difficult to replace for the clients. Make them always think twice about how difficult it will be to replace us.
  4. The management is part of the team We have no offices, no visible perks from the rest of the team. We work to ensure that the team is king and that all contribute and are measured by their contribution. We have a monthly meal together as a team, before which we brief everyone on developments in the company. We have very little information that is not shared; our belief is that we have a mature group of co workers who deserve to know as much information as we can share.
  5. It’s not about the money. Apart from a client whose expectations exceeded what their budget would allow, we have never lost a client to another agency in the history of the company. That is the measure of our success. We also have virtually zero staff turnover despite not being the best company in this market for salaries.
  6. Don’t take integration of new recruits for granted. We have made one major recruitment mistake, largely our fault as we underestimated the fact that we take so much for granted, to a newcomer it can be daunting. This individual found it difficult to multi task the way we take for granted, and the informal approach seemed to be an issue. Our need is to improve the process and integrate new employees more slowly and in a more formal way.

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 write pictures for the image.

Note: I write these posts because I am passionate about great service and helping companies get more value and growth out of the customer relationships they already have. If you’d like to find out more about how I do that then get in touch here. Alternatively, sign up for my monthly newsletter here.

 

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