Feature Article
Limerick, Galway, Cork & Waterford Join The National Conversation

 

Last year we presented 'A Vision for Dublin 2050', setting out what the citizens of Dublin wanted their city to be like in future – a vision for creating a better place to work, live and visit.

 

This summer, we travelled to Limerick, Galway, Cork and Waterford to engage with key stakeholders in our regional cities to open up a National Conversation. Working with the local Chambers, we hosted workshops to discuss the topics Healthcare, Culture, Technology, Diversity, Education & Community and how the symbiotic relationship between the cities and the capital can impact the whole of Ireland. The findings of these discussions will be published in a report on the evening of our Annual Dinner on 11th October. 


Our Pre-Budget Sumbission for 2019 is Published
 

We have made our pre-budget submission to Government ahead of Budget 2019. We are calling on the Government to invest in Ireland’s infrastructure, grow Ireland’s businesses, and invest in Ireland’s human capital.

 

This year, the Chamber is arguing that the fiscal space should be used to safeguard Ireland against external shocks by strengthening the fundamentals of the economy: our infrastructure; our indigenous business base, and our labour market. 

 

Our lobbying campaign is ongoing, including representations to the Oireachtas Committee on Budgetary Oversight, high-level discussions with the Department of Finance, and engagement will politicians and senior spokespeople of all parties.

 

Our Pre-Budget Submission can be viewed here.


We have made our pre-budget submission to Government ahead of Budget 2019. We are calling on the Government to invest in Ireland’s infrastructure, grow Ireland’s businesses, and invest in Ireland’s human capital.

 

This year, the Chamber is arguing that the fiscal space should be used to safeguard Ireland against external shocks by strengthening the fundamentals of the economy: our infrastructure; our indigenous business base, and our labour market.

 

Among the issues we have highlighted so far are:

  • The low level of capital investment in Dublin
  • The need for investment in public transport and water infrastructure
  • Ireland’s lack of tax competitiveness vs. the UK ahead of Brexit
  • The need to support and reward entrepreneurs
  • The need to encourage more investment in Irish SMEs
  • Skills shortages in the Greater Dublin Area putting pressure on wage costs
  • The need for more affordable childcare to improve low levels of female participation in the labour force.

 

Our Pre-Budget Submission can be viewed here.

Companies Have Lost the Human Touch in Customer Experience 
 

Two thirds of consumers surveyed by PwC feel companies have lost touch with the human element of the customer experience. Three quarters saying that they want more human interaction in future, not less. 

 

PwC research shows up to 16% return on investment for quality customer experience investment. Owen McFeely, Director, PwC Retail and Consumer Practice tells us more about the survey findings and 'Experience is Everything' report. 


Companies have lost the human touch in customer experience 
 
PwC research shows up to 16% return on investment for quality customer experience investment 
 
By Owen McFeely, Director, PwC Retail & Consumer Practice
 
 
Two thirds of consumers surveyed by PwC feel companies have lost touch with the human element of the customer experience. Three quarters saying that they want more human interaction in future, not less.
 
The findings come in a new international survey by PwC of 15,000 consumers across 12 countries including the UK, US, Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, Columbia, Germany, Japan, Mexico and Singapore.  Research undertaken in Ireland earlier this year revealed similar trends.
 
The report Experience is Everything finds that in an age of chatbots, digital payments, artificial intelligence (AI), the Internet of Things (IoT) and Big Data, companies need to work harder to strike the right customer experience balance.
 
Price and quality remain top of mind when consumers make purchasing decisions, but 73% of global respondents say that a positive experience is among the key drivers that influence their brand loyalties. In fact, the price premium for quality customer experience among consumers worldwide is up to 16 percent on products and services.
 
PwC global research revealed that 65% of consumers find a positive brand experience to be more influential than great advertising. Based on recent Irish research, we are seeing the same trends in Ireland, where consumers will keep shopping in-store as long as they get the right experience, combination of value, convenience, personal service and integrated physical and online services.  For example, mobile is very important,  with almost a third (31%) of Irish consumers saying mobile is their preferred method of payment in-store (Global: 46%), rising to 66% for those aged under 34. We are seeing consumers choose between convenience, where they may shop online, and experience.
 
UP to 16% return on investment for quality customer experience 
The ‘Experience Economy’ has ushered in a new customer experience mindset, steering brands beyond emphasising products and services to selling rich consumer experiences. Our findings quantify the potential return on investment on investments in providing a quality customer experience of, upwards of 16%.
 
The detrimental cost of bad customer experience, and quantifiable value of the good
The global survey underlines how bad experiences drive consumers away. Of the consumers surveyed, 60% would stop doing business with a company due to unfriendly service, 46% because of employees lack of knowledge (46%) and half because they don’t trust the company. One in three (32%) say they would walk away from a brand they love after just one bad experience.
 
Speed and efficiency (80%); knowledgeable and helpful employees (78%); and convenience (77%) universally matter most. These cornerstone elements are so highly valued that the majority (52%) of consumers would pay more for greater speed and efficiency; 43% would pay more for greater convenience; and 41% would pay more for knowledgeable and helpful employees.
 
In Ireland, based PwC’s 2018 Irish Retail & Consumer report, there is also room for improvement with the shopping experience.  According to the Irish research, the majority of respondents are not happy with most elements of the in-store shopping experiences.  For example, half (49%) are not happy with sales associates'  knowledge of the product range and has deteriorated from 37% last year. Two-thirds (66%) are not happy with in-store WIFI or personalised offers.   
 
Traditional retailers could be at an advantage as shopping behaviour in stores shifts more to the experience rather than just shopping, but the Irish survey suggests more training of in-store staff is needed.  The increasing trend of shopping with a mobile device also creates significant opportunities for retailers to become fully 'interconnected'.  The trick will be how to optimise the interplay of the in-store shopping experience with mobile and social platforms while ensuring a seamless 'last mile' experience.
 
Trust in the brand and the company is key
In particular, in Ireland, security is still a concern for majority.  More than half (52%) of Irish consumers are concerned about security when making payments via their mobile.  Using credible websites and dealing with providers they trust are the most popular ways to reduce personal cyber risk. 
 
Most consumers want brands and retailers to know enough about them to provide highly relevant  personalised offers, but they also want to be sure that all sensitive personal information isn't misused. Businesses need robust cyber security programmes, and with GDPR now having been implemented, they need to ensure they protect personal information and provide secure website and payment facilities. 
 
Employees critical to the experience - and spending
While the consumer generates the revenue, employees drive the experience. Seventy one percent of global consumers think a company’s employees have a significant impact on their experience. But only 44% believe that employees understand their needs well. Consumers in Japan, the US and Singapore are even less convinced that their needs are understood (21%, 38% and 38%, respectively).
 
Brands won’t be able to solve their customer experience problems with technology alone – it’s just an enabler, facilitating the connection between a product or service and consumers. Instead, they must find a way to create an experience that blends consumer demand for tech with their strong desire for authentic, personal interaction. They don’t need to look far, though – employees hold the key to creating and sustaining great interactions with consumers.
 
In short, consumers are willing to pay for a customer experience that goes beyond the norm and brings together the best elements of people, technology and service with a smile.
 
More News
Better Funding Needed for Dublin
 

We have  lobbied public representatives on the Dublin City Council to take a more responsible approach to local government funding.

 

The Chamber made its arguments ahead of an upcoming decision by Councillors about whether to reduce the revenue from Local Property Tax in 2019. Our submission can be viewed here.


Last year, Councillors voted against official advice by reducing LPT by 15%, becoming one of the few Local Authorities to do so. Dublin Chamber has pointed out that no such relief is being offered to businesses through reductions in their commercial rates bills, and that the decision seems motivated by electoral concerns rather than the real needs of the city.

 

The result of this decision was the de-funding of plans to improve the cleanliness and appearance of the city centre, negatively impacting on both the business environment and quality of life. This is despite Chamber research showing that twice as many people consider Dublin a dirty city as consider it a clean city.

 

We have long argued that the capital city needs a stronger local government with greater autonomy. When making the case for Dublin at national Government level, we argue that LPT revenue which is generated locally should be kept and re-invested locally rather than transferred to other areas outside of Dublin. Unfortunately, it is hard to make this case when public representatives choose not to use their existing revenue allocation.

 

Our submission can be viewed here.

Dublin Economics Workshop Line-Up
 

The forthcoming Budget, Brexit and the future of the all-island economy will all be up for discussion next month when the 41st Dublin Economics Workshop (DEW) takes place on 14th- 15th September.

 

This year’s DEW will open with a keynote from Minister for Finance and Public Expenditure Reform, Paschal Donohoe TD, who will be speaking just 3 weeks prior to the announcement of the 2019 Budget.

 

The full programme for the 41st Dublin Economics Workshop can be viewed here.


A standout session on the Friday evening will see Ann Nolan, Former second Secretary in the Department of Finance, and Sharon Donnery of the Central Bank of Ireland join John Fell of the European Central Bank to reflect on the 10 years since the start of the banking crisis.
 
Other speakers confirmed for the event include Dara Calleary TD, Fianna Fail Deputy Leader and Director of Policy Development, Aoife O’Grady, Department  of Transport, Tourism & Sport, Brigid McManus, former Secretary General in the Department of Education, and John Fitzgerald, former Head of the Macroeconomics section of the ESRI, who will offer his assessment of the all-island economy in the light of the UK’s decision to leave the European Union.
 
Other topics covered by the conference include housing policy, Ireland 2040, education policy and behavioural economics.
 
All bookings can be made via the website www.dublineconomics.com
Culture Calendar
 

Dublin Fringe Festival 2018 kicks off on 8th September and is a festival of firsts – each of the 80 events are brand new and happening in Dublin for the very first time. This year’s programme is joyful, disruptive and fizzing with ideas. The stage is set for an indelible edition of Dublin Fringe Festival.


The Money

 

 

Artist: A Kaleider Production. Conceived and directed by Seth Honnor

Genre: Theatre / Game

Description: The Money is a cross between a game and a theatrical performance taking place in City Hall. Choose to be either a Silent Witness or a Player. Silent Witnesses watch as Players must come to a unanimous decision about how to spend a pot of real cash. If the group agrees before the clock ticks down, the money is theirs to spend. If not, it rolls over to the next show.

 

Click here to watch the trailer.

 

The Sound of Phoenix

 

 

  

Artist: Shanna May Breen

Genre: Live art / Installation

Description: The Sound of Phoenix is a site-specific travelling soundscape of the Phoenix Park. The listener is invited onto a vintage bus to drive through the park. Devised from conversations and interviews, this fizzy and heartfelt tapestry of sound will relive and reimagine what this epic site means to us today.

 

Click here to watch the trailer.

 

We Oppose Water Price Hikes
 

In our submission to the Commission for the Regulation of utilities, we have expressed our alarm at Irish Water’s plans for a new regime of water tariffs on businesses.

 

The utility is proposing a standardised framework for non-domestic water tariffs across the country, which will lead to significant bill increases for many businesses. You can check the impact on your own firm’s water bill with Irish Water’s Business Calculator.


The utility is proposing a standardised framework for non-domestic water tariffs across the country, which will lead to significant bill increases for many businesses – particularly in the Dublin region, where many firms will face hikes in the region of 40%.

 

This new ‘harmonised’ system, proposals for which can be viewed here, aims to replace the variety of prices across the country with a new nationwide model for commercial water users. However, Dublin Chamber questions the fairness of the proposed system and has expressed alarm about the implications for future costs, and the impact on Dublin’s business competitiveness.

 

In our submission to the Commission for the Regulation of utilities, we have pointed out that the proportion of overall water costs borne by businesses would rise by 20%, and this rise would be borne by half of firms, leading to very significant bill increases in many cases. The impact will be large in Dublin, which has a high concentration of businesses and where water prices are relatively competitive at present. We have also highlighted the compounding effect that this may have on the hotel sector in the context of the impending VAT increase.

 

You can check the impact on your own firm’s water bill by clicking here for Irish Water’s Business Calculator.

 

Build, Scale, Grow
 

Momentum 2018, in partnership with Ulster Bank, has brought together inspirational business leaders to share their views on growth opportunities to fellow entrepreneurs. In this interview, we cast the spotlight on Alison Banton, CEO at beauty business Brooke & Shoals.

 

Join the Ulster Bank Business Achievers online community and get access to helpful and relevant business content and downloads, free online courses and a network to help grow your business.


Alison Banton founded Brooke & Shoals Fragrances in 2010, creating luxurious scented products for the global market from her base in Greystones, County Wicklow. She has since grown her team to 10 and has mare than 300 stockists for her products across Ireland. Expanding into Europe and, most recently, the US, has highlighted her brand's international reach. Here, she reveals the opportunities and challenges she faced when scaling up her business.

 

 

What's the unique selling point of Brooke & Shoals Fragrances?

"We're an Irish company that's fanatical about designing innovative fragrances for scented candles, diffusers and body products. We're also passionate about quality and making everything in Ireland because so many people have outsourced everything to Asia over the past few years."

 

What do you think are the main challenges facing businesses, especially start-ups that want to scale up?

"Anyone can come up with an idea and start a business, but to scale up, there are a number of key things you need to have in place. The first is having the right staff resources - and in the beginning, that's very difficult because you don't have the cash flow to find the people you need. Cash flow is such an important issue with a product-based business like mine because you're investing in raw materials and then selling your product to retailers and giving them credit. Another challenge as you scale up can be to keep yourself emotionally and physically strong and motivated because you need so much energy if you're the driving force behind the company."

 

 If resources are tight, how can a business square that circle?

“For a business to survive in difficult times, they have to look at their overheads and see how they can bring those down. Are there savings to be made? Can you increase your margins on your sales by getting better prices on your raw materials? You should be on top of your costs even when business is going well. 

 

"For any business to grow, you need investment, which you'll get either through debt financing - in other words borrowing the money or through equity financing, which means getting someone to invest in the company."

 


"I think the very nature of being an entrepreneur is that you have to have an appetite

for risk - but make sure it's a calculated one"

 

Alison Banton, Founder and CEO, Brooke & Shoals Fragrances


 

What attitude should entrepreneurs have towards financial support?

"Financial support is a necessary part of expanding a business, especially one that's product-based. If you go down the borrowing route, it’s mostly a matter of making sure you get the right value for money and that you can afford the debt you're taking on. If you choose an investor, the deal has to work for everybody, and you need to be sure they can bring some value to the table.

 

“In the early stages of the business I was on the Irish Dragons' Den. Two of the dragons wanted to invest, and they were looking for 50% of the business. While I said yes on the show, when we got to discussions afterwards, and I found out what they were planning and how they would contribute, I realised there was no way I would give them 10%, let alone 50%."

 

What should an entrepreneur's approach to risk be?

"I think the very nature of being an entrepreneur is that you can't be averse to risk. I know so many start-ups fail through the product or service not being what the market wants, the owners not running the business properly or not having the energy to keep going. You have to have an appetite for risk - but make sure it's a calculated one. Don't re-mortgage your family home so that you're out on the street if it doesn't work. When I started my business, I was still had a full-time job for the first year to make sure I knew it was going to work."

 

 

 

Dublin Simon Need Your Help!
 

As the summer is coming to an end and we are now beginning our preparations for the cold winter months, we are trying to raise as much vital funds as possible to provide help to the increasing number of adults and children affected by the homeless crisis.

Get in touch with us and we'll talk you through the various ways you can help or donate here.


We need your help now!

Every cent counts and we would be so grateful for any donation that you can give.

Get in touch with us and we'll talk you through the various ways you can help or donate here.

For more information contact corporate@dubsimon.ie.

We thank you in advance for your kindness and helping us address this emergency to help the children and adults affected by homelessness.

Warmest regards,

The team at Dublin Simon Community

 

Chamber News Roundup

**New Recruit**

We are delighted to welcome a new member of the Chamber Policy team, Sinéad Healy. Sinéad previously worked as Press Officer for a cross border homelessness charity and has a background in corporate PR. She also holds a BA from UCC and an MSc from the University of Edinburgh.

 

**Donate Old Office Computers**

We recently donated 4 old office computers to Camara Education which are now being used in a school in Ethiopia. We encourage you to donate too, contact Lucy.

 

**Membership Plus- New App!**

Don’t miss out on some fantastic discounts via your Membership Plus card - Aviva Stadium Tours, The Fitzwilliam Hotel, Shelbourne Park Stadium, Platform 61, EPIC Ireland, Kylemore Karting, Irish Whiskey Museum and many more! 

 

** Room Hire **

Looking for room hire in the city centre? We have some great room rates available for members here at 7 Clare St. Take a look at our rooms here and for further information contact  Ruthe@dublinchamber.ie.

 


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