10 Public sectorThe public sector is one customer that’ll never run out of money. Founder of Reading Room Margaret Manning says: “Our firm is not dependent on a small number of clients that could go bust. More than half our clients come from the less volatile public and third sectors.” John Deverill, MD of Finnamore Management Consultants, adds: “The demand for health services is not dropping. There’s likely to be an election soon, so there’s little chance the services provided by the NHS will be allowed to suffer.”11 Second-tier citiesUKTI published a report on Tomorrow’s Markets last year, highlighting future hot spots for enterprise. While the BRIC countries remain popular with SME owners, Vietnam, Mexico, the UAE and Ukraine topped the list of tomorrow’s high-growth markets. Another unusual trend emerged from the study: the rise of so-called “second-tier cities”. Sir Digby Jones, minister for trade and investment, explains: “Investors are likely to become more adventurous as they seek out lower costs and richer consumers. In China, the largest recipients are still Shanghai and Beijing but companies are starting to look to the larger regional provinces. In India, Mumbai is the top city at the moment, but large regional areas such as Gujarat and Ahmedabad are looking more attractive to investors.”12 Customer serviceAt Cruise118, each customer gets assigned a “concierge” to answer all holidaymakers’ queries personally. “People don’t like being passed on to five different people when they’re booking a holiday,” says founder James Cole. “We have incredibly high repeat bookings and ten per cent of all bookings to date have resulted in an unsolicited letter or email containing positive feedback.” How many call centres can claim that?
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