Saturday, February 16, 2013

Tesco must trust us if they want us to trust them

Tesco is right to start the communications rolling in the aftermath of Britain's horsemeat-in-beef-products scandal. Emails to every customer (that they have emails for - which is a lot, thanks to Clubcard) about the value of trust, promises made about rigorous testing (the stuff we had trusted they were doing anyway) and a commitment to a new website to share progress and outcomes is all great.

But the more exciting, and both business changing and business winning, idea contained in Tesco's new commitments is in the pledge to 'open up our supply chain'.

This not only brings them the benefits of applying some of the 10 Principles of Open Business, it also goes some way to enabling customers to get closer to the wizard, rather than the curtain - in other words, the source of the brand.

And IF they are wise and consistent in the application of Open Business, if they truly wish to become customer-led, then co-creating the fix to this problem with those for whom it is intended will become second nature.

That's the part I see missing from the Tesco plan right now. It feels like the customer is being treated as a receiver of outcome rather than a key stakeholder in the decision making process. CEO Phillip Clarke has told us what he is doing for us, but he hasn't asked us what we think the solutions are, what we think will rebuild trust.

Getting closer to the source is a critical part of that. Being part of steering how that is done is another.

Tesco must first learn to trust us if it wants us to trust it.

The rate of change is so rapid it's difficult for one person to keep up to speed. Let's pool our thoughts, share our reactions and, who knows, even reach some shared conclusions worth arriving at?