Your business week: Applegreen agm, ECB interest rate decision
A customer service conference in Clontarf while EY will name Entrepreneur of the Year
The European Central Bank will make a decision on interest rates on Thursday. Photograph: Daniel Roland/AFP/Getty Images
Indicators: Euro zone manufacturing PMI (May); UK manufacturing PMI (May); German manufacturing PMI (May); US manufacturing PMI (May), manufacturing prices, employment (May), vehicles sales (May).
Indicators: Euro zone inflation (May), unemployment (Apr); UK construction PMI (May); US factory orders (Apr).
Meetings: Customer Contact Europe conference on customer service (Clontarf Castle, Dublin 3).
There is a story, however true, of an automated Australian tax help line that told callers: “If you understand English, press 1. If you do not understand English, press 2.”
It may just be an urban myth but it will be all too familiar to those who subscribe to the opinion that customer service is declining in a world where companies cut back on costs and customer focus. The antidote to such problems may emerge on Tuesday at the Customer Contact Europe conference in Dublin.
The two-day event pledges to prepare attendees for “the future of customer care”, with a particular eye on digital transformation.
It will be guided by insights from, among others, Annette Hickey, vice-president of customer solutions at PayPal; Mervyn Neary, head of change and improvement at Sky Ireland; and Tony Crane, customer experience director at Bank of Ireland.
Indicators: Euro zone composite and services PMI (May), PPI (Apr), retail sales (Apr); UK services PMI (May), car sales (May); German composite and services PMI (May); US composite and services PMI (May).
Even in a time when Brexit concerns continue to affect trade and where fuel guzzling vehicles are not long for this world, the story of Applegreen continues to be upbeat.
It was reflected most recently in March when the forecourt retailer produced full year results showing a distracting revenue growth of 41 per cent to €2 billion, not to mention a rise in gross profit of 55 per cent to €282.3 million.
It all makes for a pleasant atmosphere at this week’s agm (Wednesday) when the future looks so bright.
Applegreen now has almost 200 sites in the Republic, as well as 158 in the UK and 121 in the US. Last year, it acquired a majority stake in US motorway service area operator Welcome Break and it continues to set its sights on international expansion.
There has been some minor publicity blips in recent times but hardly enough to put any kind of dampener on this week’s proceedings.
In March, the CDP (Carbon Disclosure Project) cited Applegreen as one of several Irish companies not disclosing its greenhouse emissions to it, while the following month it emerged an allegation had been made to the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission that the retailer had been improperly using planning rules to win advantage over rivals (Applegreen did not comment at the time).
None of this, however, will be fuel for disquiet at the Herbert Park Hotel.
Indicators: Euro zone employment change (Q1), GDP growth rate (Q1); German factory orders (Apr), construction PMI (May); US exports and imports (Apr).
Meetings: ECB interest rate decision; Biz Expo 2019 networking event (Citywest Hotel, Saggart, Co Dublin); Dublin Chamber Tech Forum featuring Sarah Cunningham, vice-president of Mastercard’s Dublin Technology Hub (Dublin Chamber, 7 Clare Street, Dublin 2).
Meetings: Glenveagh Properties agm (InterContinental Hotel, Ballsbridge, Dublin 4).
Indicators: UK Halifax house price index (May); German exports and imports (Apr), industrial production (Apr); US non-farm payrolls and unemployment (May).