Monday, August 11, 2014

South Carolina moves up the rankings of business-friendly states.

According to Chief Executive Magazine, South Carolina is now the fifth best state in the U.S. to run a business, moving up from its 2013 ranking of eighth. In their 10th annual survey, the magazine questioned over 500 CEOs across the U.S. asking them to grade states with which they were familiar on measures including tax and regulatory regime, the quality of the workforce, and the quality of the living environment. Texas continues its 10-year historical position as the best state overall; but Florida, which ranks No. 2, is edging up and even overtaking Texas in its quality of living environment. Tennessee edged out North Carolina to take third place with North and South Carolina respectively capturing 4th and 5th place.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Responding to ‘Think Aiken Think’

Dr. Hudson was a guest of Aiken South Carolina’s Chamber of Commerce yesterday, where he was acting as a ‘responder’ to a community leader’s think-tank called “Think Aiken Think”. The Chamber was looking for someone from outside the community but with a background in economic development and planning to come in and sum up the planning session. “My job was to listen to all the various group discussions and then give a summary based on what I had heard, reacting to the level of creativity and identifying common themes” said Hudson. Participants were asked to debate various topics including how to create a more progressive and future-oriented leadership, how to attract more investment and create jobs in Aiken, and how to improve and promote the quality of life in the city. “It is just great to see these rural communities in the state realizing that inaction is not a viable option if they genuinely want to improve local prosperity. So they are bringing leaders of the community together to create a vision for the future – such stakeholder engagement is a crucial step in the community development process.” Last year, Hudson’s team in the Center of Economic Excellence in Tourism conducted a similar project for the Town of Bluffton. Their report can be found at:

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Great customer service should be delivered with a compliment or two (or five).

Dr. Hudson was a guest of the Members Club at Woodcreek and WildeWood in Columbia this week delivering a customer service seminar to employees. As part of a general training day, Dr. Hudson was giving some tips on how to provide superior customer service. “It’s actually not that complex,” he said “But few organizations really get it right.” One of the problems, he says, is that many companies think they are providing good customer service, when, in actual fact, their customers are saying otherwise. Hudson refers to a recent study that found 80 percent of companies believe they deliver superior service to their customers, but only eight percent of their customers actually agreed! “It is refreshing to see an organization like Woodcreek & Wildewood recognizing the significance of customer service, and investing in their employees. Customer service training is often viewed as a cost rather than an investment, and even if companies recognize the importance of customer service, they don’t know how to deliver consistent, high quality customer service on an on-going basis.” One of Hudson’s tips on how to wow your customers: pay them a compliment. He refers to one study where hairstylists compared the tips they got when they complimented their customers versus when they did not compliment them. In the study, tips were significantly higher when the hairstylists used compliments. “Did you know the key to a successful relationship is to pay your partner a compliment five times a day?” says Hudson. There’s food for thought.