‘Change’ it’s a funny old word…

And it is…isn’t it? But no doubt something we are all fairly familiar with, be it in our working lives or our personal ones. If you were to believe in anything to do with horoscopes, I’m not supposed to like change. I’m a Taurean (the sign of the bull!) and typically we are supposed to like routine and dislike any form of change, but whilst I’ll admit to liking some routine in my life, I do absolutely love change. I recognise that things have to change, sometimes in order to move on, sometimes in order to improve and maybe sometimes, ‘just because’ – when we can’t quite put our finger on a reason, we just know change feels right, right now. Maybe it’s our intuition or gut instinct telling us something has to change.

There’s a million quotes out there about change, mostly spotted on Facebook or Twitter as we all share these seemingly wise words. A couple of my favourites are: ‘A wise man changes his mind, a fool never will’ and ‘Change is inevitable, progress is optional’. I think I’ve shared these when I’ve seen them on social media, but then taking the time to actually sit and think about what those words mean or could mean, well I’m not sure how many times I’ve done that in the past, but it’s certainly a hot topic for me right now, in many different ways.

So what do we do and how do we handle change (well I’d probably be a professor of some sort if I could fully answer that one!). It does feel as if on one hand we try and prepare for it, on another we simply react to it and sometimes, we instigate it. Personally, the last one is the easiest for me. If I’ve instigated a change and I’m not happy with the results, we can change it back, or we change it to something different again – simple. And the bonus is, we have learnt something from that along the way and will keep learning. But it’s true also, that if that is around a big business decision, it’s not always so simple to change it back and there’s a question over how much time and investment may have been lost, was the risk worth it. But sometimes we have to take a risk in order to learn and it’s so easy to over-worry about change; we can’t possibly prepare for every eventuality, so we do our best and we deal with anything else that comes up. I’m always reminded of that when I’m driving and suddenly there’s a road closure that the Sat Nav clearly doesn’t know about, so I simply change direction – helped admittedly by ‘Diversion’ sign posts. How nice it would be if all change were as easy!

As Client Services Manager, I’m fortunate enough to be out on the road visiting lots of fabulous hotels – and I can see change everywhere. From marketing focus and materials, to new spa’s and buildings – it seems change is happening for everyone.

Here at SK Chase, we’ve been talking about and looking at lots of changes that have happened, are happening or could happen in the future as we prepare for a new financial year – but one thing is for certain, things will change and keep changing – and we’re excited about it!

Over the last year, we’ve seen the release and success of the promotional code functionality, we’ve rolled out our mobile optimisation project (in line and on time with Google’s own changes on this – phew!) and we’re just about to really see the launch plans come to life for our new site – WhatIReallyWanted.com. Lots of changes and progress, all good stuff that has really got us fired up and full of optimism!

We’ve also seen some changes in our own market place in regards to potential competitors and quite understandably, that has resulted in a few of our clients reviewing their gift voucher solution and assessing whether change is right for them. As a company, we fully appreciate that every business will review their suppliers, partners and overall strategy – we know about change. And so, we decided that the only way that we can fully stay true to our business intent of setting our clients free, was to offer as much support and insight to our clients as we possibly could when assessing change and associated risk (incidentally, you may know already, but our ‘Set Free’ business intent came from a goal or vision of setting our clients free from the hassle of gift vouchers – such as managing a system, fulfilment, internal resource, development costs etc.).

Insight is something we can be extremely proud of at SK Chase. We have so many years under our belts working specifically with four and five star hotels and we are delighted to be trusted by over 300 clients in the UK. It’s given us focus, experience and plenty of learnings in this segment of the market. So in order to support any of our clients wishing to review their gift voucher solution, we put together a document which we hope could be used to assess risk. After all, instigated change is often reliant on one person’s ultimate decision, so we want to be able to support and provide as much information as we possibly can. We like to work very openly with all our clients and we see ourselves not only as a software provider, but a team who are here to help our clients grow and develop their gift voucher sales by offering insight, marketing ideas and tips, as well as the support of all the team within SK Chase, including handling huge volumes of calls from hotel staff and customers directly. We believe our service should be in line with our clients, so we do all we can to help and resolve any queries in a friendly and professional manner with a dedicated team. And we’re changing too – we’re constantly looking at way of improving and we’ve made changes within the business this year to reflect the changing times, from small things like realising no one ever sends faxes anymore (sad times for fax machines!), to changing our entire phone system to keep up to date and manage calls as effectively and efficiently as possible – even the day to day things have to change!

As we plan for and then move into our new financial year in November, it seems there is so much more change on the horizon, and it’s fine, it’s more than fine – it’s brilliant! We will continue to change and grow to fully support the needs of our clients; we have some fantastic development plans in the pipeline (and confirmation that we’re working to our client needs thanks to all the amazing feedback we got on our recent client survey) and if you are thinking about change, we’re completely happy to offer as much guidance as we can to any of our clients to help in your decision making.

After all,  there’s not always sign posts to help us along the way, so it seems we have to trust in our instincts, believe in our decisions and be brave enough to change things again, or turn back if that decision didn’t turn out for the best.

There’s always something to gained, be it progress or lessons learned, it’s all valuable. Whatever change happens, we can be fairly confident of one thing – it’s bound to change again!