The Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics closed on February 24. I recall the words of our figure skater Kim Yuna who regretfully ended up with a silver medal despite her best performance. “The medal wasn’t important in the first place, and I’m just satisfied I could show everything I had done my best to prepare for.”, she said. She added that she would give herself 120 points. The Olympics can touch upon the hearts of the athletes when they have truly done their best with no regrets.
I look forward to the next Olympic that will take place in Pyeongchang 4 years later, and hope it turns out to be a huge success that makes bigger impression on the world.
Old houses in Jeju Island have three logs draped over stone pillars instead of a gate. One log indicates the owner is at home, and two logs indicate that the owner will be back soon, so the guest may wait. The name of this Jeju-style gate that can be easily passed by anyone is ‘Jeong,’ which is the same word Koreans use to refer to the emotion we are so proud of. This custom in Jeju Island comes from the strong trust within the community. However, this culture is recently fading away, and it is a pity that social trust is being destroyed by frequent incidents such as robberies and assaults.
In fact, it is not easy to discuss mutual trust in the harsh society like today. In the business world filled with cutthroat competitions, there are quite a few cases in which companies covertly damage their customers for immediate gains. They increase product price when supply is short, or use low-quality materials to lower the costs. It may generate immediate profits for the time being, but it will lead to poor competence and quality issues and even destroy customers’ trust, thereby forced to be excluded from the market.
Chairman Manwoo Cho Hong-je, the founder of our company, also valued trust with customers more than anything. Even when he could have generated high profits from the significant rise in market price during the time he was importing sugar on ship, he sold it at a low price as initially promised with the customer based on his belief that a verbal contract is also a contract. As he kept his word with customers instead of seeking gains ahead of him, the public’s positive attitudes toward him turned into a deep respect. This became a huge foundation for our company’s growth.
On the contrary, there are few cases in which some of us, blinded by the desire to attain results, receive orders without considering whether we can satisfy the customer needs or not, thereby resulting in increased costs and missed deadlines. This rather damages both the customers and the company. Therefore, sales departments shall build a relationship based on trust with internal and external stakeholders and avoid performances based on short-sighted thinking.
Being always at the touchpoint with customers on site, sales departments are better aware of market conditions (i.e. customer needs, competitors’ movements, and etc.) than any other departments in the company. It is also them who first observe how the business environment changes. Therefore, sales staff must continuously communicate with customers with an eager attitude to investigate and analyze market movements, keeping in mind that selling products in hand isn’t everything in sales.
Then they must be able to lead the direction for product development so that information obtained from above can be delivered to relative departments like research and production, allowing them to create products that customers really want. Another duty of the sales department is to seek desirable solutions with customers by understanding the difficulties of the production department. The company can grow and develop only when there is customer satisfaction and reliable partnership from an interdependent cooperative system.
American poet Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “Trust men and they will be true to you.” To gain our customers’ trust, we must first understand them in their shoes and do our best to achieve customer satisfaction. I expect all employees to strive to make Hyosung a reliable company with the sales department in the lead.
Now we have reached the point of closing the first quarter of this year. As the saying goes, “Well begun is half done.”. I request you to keep in mind that the current performance will determine our entire performance for this year.
“To gain our customers’ trust, we must first understand them in their shoes and do our best to achieve customer satisfaction. I expect all employees to strive to make Hyosung a reliable company with the sales department in the lead.”