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Industry told to put agents first

Employers must
put agents at the core of their business if they are to fight off the threat of
the Internet and self-packaged holidays, according to a leading retail expert.

Tony
Campbell, a non-executive directive at First Choice with 35 years of retail
experience including senior board positions at supermarkets ASDA and Sainsbury’s,
told the trade to invest in agents and improve employee relations.

He
told delegates at the ABTA Convention: “You must get great people because your
customers buy people first.”

He
warned the industry it can only get out of its “doom loop” – caused by world
events following the September 11 terrorist attacks – if it puts agents at the
centre of its business plan.

Campbell
urged the trade to follow ASDA’s lead and make ‘people and personality’ its key
differentiator.

ASDA
transformed itself from a business that made a £400 million loss in 1992 to one
that US supermarket conglomerate Wal-Mart paid £6.7 billion for in 1999 by
creating  “an all-inclusive team
atmosphere”.

ASDA
scrapped director’s car parking spaces, giving them to the best-performing
staff instead, forced store managers to ditch their suit jackets and introduced
a staff-share scheme so employees owned part of the company.

“People
respond if they think they can make a difference, not if they feel unimportant.
Staff must be made to feel it is their business,” said Campbell. “It was the
people who turned the company into a £6.7 billion firm.”

 

 

 

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