chocolate shreds balls sticksPerhaps the best piece of business wisdom — certainly an item from the Top 5, and yet usually ignored — is that a customer who presents a problem is one ready to buy more stuff and gives  the company a chance to cement greater loyalty.*

In that spirit, and with the hope that #BitterChocolate will soon apply only to actual high-percentage-cocoa-solid and low-percentage-sugar “baking” chocolate, noted here are some current, saddening challenges for the world of chocolate.

  • Cacao fruit needs to be picked in West Africa and sent into processing without using child slavery, a tragedy recently brought to the fore again with the current case against Hershey, Cargill and ADM.
  • Ebola has to be contained and then cured so that its concentric circles of misery don’t damage the reputation of Ivory Coast caca and create Ghanaian smuggling cartels
  • The income cacao harvesters derive from their cacao fields has to increase so it will be easier for the Peru government to help farmers transition to coffee and chocolate from coca
  • While quality control gets ever more complicated, it still doesn’t excuse letting chocolate get exposed to pork — particularly not for chocolate heading to Muslim countries or for having lead and cadmium leech into anyone’s product
  • Finally (not, not really) there is the ongoing threat and potential for price fixing and collusion among Big Chocolate as they search for higher corporate profits.

Just a reminder, you always have the choice if the bad news is too sad to bring into your life a bit more Scandal, in this case the Japanese rock band with the catchy pop tune Bitter Chocolate

which it should be noted has nothing to do with chocolate, bitter or any other sort, but is just your “typical,” J-pop, #GrrlPwr, teen break-up lament.

*1) Of course, you have to convince the customer that the problem is satisfactorily resolved.
2) Briefly and with all typical caveats about generalizing, the biz-theory is that if unhappy customers don’t tell you the problem they may never come back, instead spreading their unhappy story to friends/acquaintances/social media contacts. Unhappy customers made happy, not only come back, but statistics say they’ll buy even more than before, and are more likely to become loyal, brand ambassadors who share the story of how the company cares so much about its customers that it goes out of the way to fix the bad.
3) While it may be easiest to lie and say the problem is fixed, it’s best to actually fix it not just for them, but all other customers as well … don’t worry there will be other problems so you will never run out of opportunities to grow the business by building from the foundation of customer problems and problem customers.

#chocolate #businessadvice #BigChocolate #Scandal #JPop #politics
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