Insanely Simple......

7th Jan 2013

I’m currently reading a book by Ken Segall.  I’d never heard of him until I saw his paperback at Heathrow Airport on the way home from a recent trip.  Segall worked alongside Steve Jobs as a creative director at Apple and his book is called ‘Insanely Simple’.  I am only midway through, but it’s a great read.  Segall gives a fascinating insight into the philosophy that has made Apple such a global success as well as looking at the unique personality and drive of the late Steve Jobs.  Apple has undoubtedly built its success by focussing on quality, simplicity and brand loyalty and there are many parallels I can draw between Apple and running a company like Peak Mountaineering.  We know we won’t become the next Apple, but that doesn’t mean we can’t learn a lot from them……  

 
Apple focuses a lot of time and energy on quality and we’ve always aspired to do the same.  Our very high customer return rate also shows us that many people are loyal to the Peak Mountaineering ‘brand’.  We are not complacent about this and always strive to improve the experiences of our customers in any way we can.  But, for the early part of 2013, it is the messages in Segall’s book about the benefits of simplifying our business practices that have particularly struck a chord.
 
Some of these simplifications are stuff that happens behind the scenes and we’d planned them before I started reading this book.  Our office is about to have a major revamp to provide more working space and better efficiency.  The IT system is also getting an overhaul soon after.  I’ve also been putting some hours in making sure our equipment inspections are completed and new kit is ordered ready for the coming year (always a good excuse to spend too much money!).
 
But the book has also got me thinking about the public face of Peak Mountaineering and, in our case, this is predominantly our website (along with various information leaflets and social media).  The website was revamped in 2012 and we are, in all honesty, still working on fine tuning it as and when time allows.  We have yet to add various articles and reviews I wrote last year, there are some photos to change and plans to add an online shop and other resources.  I want the website to stay relatively simple but also be a useful resource and inspiring portal for customers and any other outdoor enthusiasts that choose to visit.  So, what I’m leading up to is that we need some help on this journey and, whether you’ve been a client in the past or not, we hope you might spare us a few minutes.
 
We need to know what our website should have that it doesn’t.  What it shouldn’t have that it does.  What works and what doesn’t.  Whether the information potential clients need is there.  We would also really like to know how important a paper brochure is (we’ve always shied away from this so far).  Whether online booking is important (we’ve also avoided this for the reasons outlined here).  How useful website users find it to have an articles and advice section.  If there’s enough course info and any other ideas you might have to help us improve.  We will appreciate ALL and ANY feedback – positive or negative!
 
I know this is a big ask.  Everyone is busy and, like you, I often groan when I get a request to fill in a survey or provide feedback (which is why we especially appreciate all those clients who have kindly completed Trip Advisor reviews or sent feedback emails).  However, I also know this is really important to the development of our business.  So, we are willing to put money behind this new year project.  From any responses we get before the end of January we will randomly pick 4 who will receive a £25 voucher for Costwold Outdoor.  We know it isn’t a shiny new iMac…but we hope it’s thanks enough for helping us get better.
 
Please just send any comments to us at info@peakmountaineering.com.  We’ll acknowledge your email and promise to read everything you say.
 
Many many thanks in advance.
Paul