Law in brief
March 1, 2013
Excellence in Customer Service: Effectiveness and Innovation
Customer relationship management has gone through a significant metamorphosis recently. It has seen a change from simple records of all interactions between the customer and the organization to systems comprising a whole range of social and psychological elements such as customer preferences, emotions, and perception of the world or even personality traits. Statistical analyses of customer groups have given way to an individual analysis of each customer. In addition, the time frame has been extended and covers not only the “after-purchase” stage but also the period during which a specific customer builds their experience in relations with the company before they actually become an active user of its products/services.
There are no more organizations holding a monopoly on the knowledge of best customer relationship management practices or on setting trends in this area. Given the present dynamics and changing nature of the world, the speed of information flow and the flexibility of market players, no one can feel like the leader in “customer care” any longer.
These days a unique service can be theoretically provided to all customers but it is impossible to gain a significant competitive advantage without innovations in customer care. Long-term success is a reward only for those companies that are able to provide quality customer service at low organizational costs.
The high expectations of consumers are certainly a challenge for managers and those in charge of building relationships with customers. The general availability of various customer care solutions is only an apparent facilitation. The key to success is to select the solutions that meet the requirements of the market and at the same time support the operational and financial effectiveness of your organization. Also, the specific local character of every market must be emphasized, which in practice makes it impossible to transfer ready-made solutions from developed markets without previously adapting them to the needs of the local customer.
Jacek Barankiewicz, Maciej Wielkopolan
Saski Business Consulting Sp. z o.o.
EU to Simplify Public Procurement
Eurodeputies are drawing up plans that would revolutionize European Union regulations on public orders and concessions. Legislators say the new rules on awarding tenders would be simpler and more transparent, giving small local players a better chance of competing with international companies.
The Committee on the Internal Market and Consumer Protection is still working on the draft, and the European Parliament as a whole will deal with it in the second half of the year.
The new directive is designed to harmonize regulations in all 27 EU countries. The project has triggered a heated debate, with officials from the various member states haggling to secure the best possible deal for their own country.
“The issue is to make public orders and concessions more transparent and public procurement easier and simpler so that small businesses are able to compete with big companies,” Polish MEP Róża Thun has told the Newseria news agency.
After the new rules are adopted, money will no longer be the main criterion taken into account during bidding procedures, according to Thun.
“A very serious discussion has been in progress on whether the lowest price should be the key factor,” said Thun, who is taking part in the work of the committee. “Basically, we’re against that. We want the criteria to include not only the price, but also best value for money.”
The new rules are also intended to make it easier for Polish companies, for example, to seek tenders and apply for concessions in Germany and the Czech Republic. Today many EU countries protect their companies by using regulations that prevent foreign firms from seeking public orders and concessions.
According to Thun, the biggest challenge is posed by different legal traditions in different member countries. EU officials in Brussels plan to bring about harmonization in this area. “We have 27 different laws and we are working to make one uniform law [regulating public procurement and concessions] out of them,” Thun said. She added that the goal is to make sure that companies from one member country can benefit from access to public tenders and concessions in another member country.
The committee expects to complete its work on the draft directive over the next few months. The European Parliament will then likely review it in the second half of the year.
Nuclear Power Professionals Welcome
Under a regulation issued by the Polish Ministry of the Environment and in effect since Oct. 2, Poland will recognize the qualifications of professionals trained in other EU member states and seeking to work in any of the nuclear power plants that Poland plans to build under its nuclear power development program. In particular, this involves positions of responsibility for nuclear reactors and material safety, power plant management and commissioning, as well as coordination and supervision of training programs in the sector.
No Escape from Taxman
The Finance Ministry is drawing up new rules in order to clamp down on tax evasion.
The regulations in question govern the collection of taxes, tax proceedings as well as the issuance of tax interpretations and the rights and obligations of taxpayers and the tax authorities.
Deputy Finance Minister Maciej Grabowski said tax regulations must be adapted to changes taking place in the economy and protect the fiscal interests of the state.
The Finance Ministry is planning to make changes to the way tax decisions are carried out. The idea is that the taxpayer should not have to pay taxes until a final decision is issued. The Finance Ministry also wants to revise regulations to prevent double taxation in line with international agreements signed by Poland.