As Jim Baston continues the serialisation of his excellent service orientated book Beyond Great Service our protagonist Charlie begins outlining the solution to the sales and service equation to his team of service engineers…
If you’re new to this series then you can catch up on the story so far by clicking here
Last time, Charlie introduced the strategy to the service team. This time he presents the details.
Great, then let’s examine the actual strategy in more detail.” Charlie powers up the projector again and moves to the next slide. The slide says:
Charlie reads from the screen and then advances to the next slide.
“Let’s talk about what we need to do to deliver an ‘exceptional experience that is valued by our customers and differentiates us from our competitors’,” suggests Charlie.
“The first bullet simply means that we have to do our jobs well; like responding quickly to a customer’s needs, fixing the problem right the first time, showing up promptly, doing PMs as scheduled, cleaning up after our work, etc. All the things that people actually pay us to do.”
“The second bullet refers to the interpersonal experience the customer has over and above the technical work that we do. It is the positive attitude, the welcome smile, the way we interface with people in the workplace, and all the tiny but important interactions we have with our customers or their customers/ employees/ tenants/patients/etc. during the course of our work.
The last bullet is a catch-all to remind ourselves of the importance of continual follow-up, and how such a simple act can help reassure customers they have made the right decision to work with us over any of our competitors.
“The third bullet is the topic of our discussion today. It’s going beyond doing our jobs pleasantly and professionally and in a responsive and attentive manner. It includes our efforts to proactively look for ways that the customer can make improvements to their operations, and then take the time to discuss these recommendations with the customer.”
“The last bullet is a catch-all to remind ourselves of the importance of continual follow-up, and how such a simple act can help reassure customers they have made the right decision to work with us over any of our competitors.”
“So, what do you guys think? Can we add real value for our customers while differentiating ourselves from our competitors in this way?”
Angus stands up. Charlie is surprised and more than a little concerned. It looks to Charlie as if Angus is going to walk out of the room. If Charlie can’t get Angus on board, then the whole initiative is lost, or at least, greatly compromised.
“Charlie, in all the time I have worked for this company, this is the first time that management has talked about business development by putting the customer first. Usually, the question is: ‘What other services can we sell to our customers?’ i.e. what can our customers do for us? What you’re asking, that is if I hear you correctly, is: ‘What can we do for our customers?’ The results might be the same—more sales—but the motivation is quite different. I like it!”
Charlie is thrilled. Getting Angus on side is a big step forward. A couple of other people offer opinions, and they’re along the same lines as Angus’. Angus remains standing and Charlie can feel a big “but” coming . . .
“But . . . ,” complies Angus. “Saying the right words is a lot different than doing
the right things. How are we going to make this work?”
“Yet another good question, Angus.” Angus smiles and takes a bow as the room breaks out in applause.
As Angus finally sits down, Charlie says, “We have a lot of work to do. Here is a summary of what we need to do from my perspective. Perhaps you guys might think of some additional things.” Charlie discusses the bullets on the next two slides:
Charlie goes through the steps in detail and answers questions as they arise.
He points out that since this initiative is driving the overall customer experience, then everyone who has contact with the customer must participate, not just the technicians.
Since this initiative is driving the overall customer experience, then everyone who has contact with the customer must participate, not just the technicians.
Everyone who has contact with the customer; from technician to the accounts receivable person, all contribute to the overall experience and therefore must be in sync. That is why point number four references ‘all customer-facing personnel’.
After answering a couple of more questions, Charlie sums up by saying,
“Thanks everyone for your input today. I am really excited about what we are doing and I sense that you are too. Ken and I will get to work on the next steps. In the meantime, if any further thoughts come to you on this issue, please let Ken or me know.”
“Also, please be proactive in discussing with the customer those things you feel would be in their best interests to implement and work with us to ensure that they are properly followed up until we can bullet-proof the opportunity management system.”
With that, Charlie hands the floor over to Ken to discuss this week’s safety item.
Thinking about your business:
Is your business development strategy clearly tied to your overall plan to provide each customer with an exceptional customer experience?
Does everyone know what they need to do to deliver on your strategy?
Are support functions aligned to facilitate the efforts of the field team?
Next time Charlie seeks feedback from one of his ex-customers.
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