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Sunday, January 23, 2011

King George V1th and Mary Portas, Queen of Shops. Two takes on reaching an audience.

Last week the coincidental showing of an item on television and another at the cinema, made for an interesting comparative take on communication skills - or rather the lack of them.

The King's Speech, with Colin Firth depicting George V1th's stammering, was a rare foray of the silver screen into speech impediment. Here was a man who could not communicate with his subjects, and yet desperately wanted to do so.

Contrast this with the opening episode of Mary Portas' new ITV series: Mary Queen of Shops, where shop assistants had another issue; an ability to communicate when they could, but through poor training chose not to. Welcome to the world of woeful customer-care.

In the challenging business conditions of 2011, there are few levers that a manager can readily pull to make a quick difference to the bottom line. Customer relationship skills is one.

People tend to buy from people they like and yet a basic rule of three: smile, speak and service seems to have departed from the shopping malls. The cause is a debate of its own. One wonders how things may have been different, if George's coach had been let loose in Mary's world.

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