In my previous post, and a companion piece on Linkedin, I outlined what I call the anatomy of a High Street reinvigoration process. The POSITIVE approach ensures that such a project will be properly organised, to achieve outcomes focused on, and delivered via, improving the Service experience.
As a result of writing that post I’ve been made aware of an extremely useful Historic England report which analyses the decline of our High Streets and contains 16 case studies where local authorities and communities have fought back. I’m also excited to discover the work of the Scotland’s Towns Partnership, which has just launched an innovative, online Town Centre Toolkit.
It’s great to see that there is valuable and applied research going on – although I still believe that Service quality is the fundamental focus that needs to be addressed – FIRST – in any such initiative. Service is both an integral and variable component of the overall Customer Experience, and as such, it is a double-edged sword: the smartest shop, with the slickest technology, will only deliver great service if the front of house Team so wishes! By which, of course, I mean, if they have been recruited, trained and motivated to deliver a coherent, appropriate and loyalty-inducing experience.
So my bottom line is that people are the key variable in any High Street regeneration initiative, and will ultimately determine the success of that initiative. At this point it seems appropriate to point out what happened to Tesco when it forgot that!
It’s my contention then that, the foundation of any High Street strategy or action framework – be it Portas, Grimsey, POSITIVE, a Town Toolkit or whatever – needs to be a SPACE MAN:
S ERVICE – the Service Proposition, designed and delivered by the businesses themselves
P IONEERS – the early adopters, who will bring the Service Proposition to life
A DVOCATES – influencers – people and organisations – who can promote and support the initiative
C OMMUNICATION – effective, appropriate, responsive, internal and external
M OMENTUM – identifying milestones, celebrating achievements, quickly overcoming challenges
A UTHORITY – “owning” and delivering the Proposition with quality and continuous improvement
N EXT STEPS – having “a Plan”, thinking ahead, eyes on the next horizon
Now a SPACE MAN, like a hen’s tooth, may be somewhat of a rarity in the average High Street today. I do believe, however, that there is a SPACE MAN “sleeping” in every community, Our job then – if we really want to succeed – is to awaken the SPACE MAN.
As ever, I’d welcome comments and suggestions on this – including any sightings of the SPACE MAN!