Thursday, December 3, 2009

Corporate Decisions-What do you Trust in?

When was the last time you made a decision and reflected on the Antitrust Law?  I would bet not too often.  Remember the effect this law has had on our freedom to choose different products and services.  For the full definition by Wikipedia, click here.  Let’s take just one example, the purchase of a new TV. 

When you are standing in the electronics store, comparing brands like Sony, Panasonic, Hitachi, LG and Samsung, what is it that makes you choose one over the other?  Perhaps it’s the price, the quality, the features, the size or a combination of these factors.  How many of you say to yourselves when standing there looking a wall of flat screens:  “Samsung has four times the gross product and profitability than TV company X.  Therefore, I’m going to buy a Samsung.”

If consumers’ decision-making centered around the fact that Samsung was the biggest and perhaps best known electronics company, what would happen to all of the other companies?  Obviously our decisions do not center around that, or these companies would not exist.  1000 people may choose to buy a Samsung flat screen TV while 200 others may choose a Sony or Panasonic.  Does that make those 200 people look foolish for not purchasing from the big dog?  Absolutely not, these other companies all produce excellent products, they provide competition, and customers write excellent reviews on them.  Just because their company is smaller in size does not mean that their products and services are in any way inferior.

I will give you one more example based upon my trip to Houston for the Multifamily Brainstorming Sessions.  I chose for various reasons not to stay at the Hyatt where pretty well everyone else was staying, but chose to stay at the Inn at the Ballpark, which is owned by a restaurant chain.  I think it is pretty safe to assume that Hyatt is a pretty big name.  For all intents and purposes it served well to host everyone for rooming, the sessions, conferences etc.  Those who stayed there remember all too well the issues with customer service.  The elevators did not function; no one had breakfast brought to them Wednesday morning and a couple of other items.  Meanwhile, I had one of the best hotel experiences ever with this smaller outfit.  Top notch customer service from the restaurant staff, concierge and shuttle drivers.  I had a complimentary shuttle to and from the Hyatt.  The morning I had to check out I asked the shuttle driver the best way to get a taxi to Bush International and he told me just to write on the back of a business card my name and time I wanted to go and that he would take care of that for me.  I attended and enjoyed all the sessions on Thursday and then took the shuttle back to the hotel.  I had about 30 minutes to wait so I sat at the bar and relaxed for a bit.  About 20 minutes later a gentleman starts walking through the lobby with my name on a sign!  I had never had that before so that was intensely special to me.  My prearranged ride to the airport by my shuttle driver was in a nice Lincoln Continental with an absolutely courteous driver.  Now, by no means am I knocking the Hyatt at all.  My point is simply to illustrate that a big name does not always mean everything.  In my case, a smaller hotel company provided me with unbelievable service even though they are really not a known brand and do not have the marketing power as does a place like the Hyatt.

So stop for a moment and think about corporate decisions we make for our companies.  Are you thankful for the Antitrust law?  If we did not have it, guess what?  There would probably only be Samsung to choose from, and maybe only the Hyatt to stay at for a conference.  Give that some thought when you are making company decisions on products or services.  A company’s reputation and standards should certainly not be based primarily on its size and market recognition.

Written by Jonathan Saar- The Training Factor

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