Perfecting Service Management

Issue #70

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

PMI Mass Bay Chapter Seminar
Join Craig Bailey, President of Customer Centricity, who will be speaking on May 14th at the PMI Mass Bay Chapter Seminar - Advancing the Project Management Profession.

Are you seeking career advancement? Do you know what to expect at the next level of management? Do you understand the executive challenges, the organizational development needs and how your project management skills can contribute to your success? Are you prepared to advance? This day-long seminar is organized into three main components:

  • The Executive Perspective (Panel Discussion): How to understand and navigate the organizational landscape to ensure that projects are set-up to succeed.
  • The Organizational Development Perspective: How to nurture a culture of Project Management in your organization.
  • The Project Manager Perspective: How to develop your career as a Project Manager and Leader.

This event is open to PMI Mass Bay Chapter members as well as non-members. If you are not presently a member of PMI (Project Management Institute) and would like to become one, joining is easy; simply visit www.pmi.org.

Additional information about this event is available at the following link: http://pmimassbay.org/newpage_nf3.cfm?pagename=APMP2005

Customer Advocacy - Why the Need?
by Craig Bailey

Customer Centricity has recently received a number of inquiries from clients and prospects regarding the topic of "Customer Advocacy." Recognizing that this may reflect a need of our newsletter subscribers, we will deliver a series of articles on this topic, covering the following 5 areas:

- Why the need?
- What it is / isn't
- How to get there
- Pitfalls to avoid
- How we can help to accelerate the process

Why the need?

The need for a Customer Advocacy function typically results from the reality that a lot of people at a firm affect the customer experience and the perception that a customer has of the firm. In these scenarios, the "entire customer experience" is often not managed and the customer is exposed to the organization's complexities, gaps and/or inefficiencies. The customer is then required to apply extra effort to navigate the organization to get things done or get issues resolved.

Not only does this impact the customer's experience with your firm, but it also causes significant inefficiencies including:

  • Multiple people investing redundant efforts working on the same customer issue
  • Sales people spending too much time fire-fighting and not enough time selling

A useful response and strategy to address this situation is to put in place a function that considers the "entire customer experience" the Customer Advocate. This can be both a stop-gap and long-term measure to improve customer satisfaction, retention and most importantly, profitability.

To determine if your firm could benefit from implementing a customer advocacy function ask yourself:

  • Do we have a complex organizational structure that the customer must navigate to get things done?
  • Do we have complex product/service offerings that require multiple people to "touch" the customer?
  • Is our firm made up of stovepipe organizations that were designed for departmental / product specific efficiencies and not necessarily "customer success?"
  • Are our customers' experiences being managed holistically?
  • Is our sales staff spending too much time fire-fighting and not enough time selling?
  • Do I ever hear the following customer comments:
    • "Your firm is so difficult to work with"
    • "Each time I call I feel like I'm talking to a different company"
    • "I need to re-explain the situation to each person I talk to"

If any of the above are true for your firm, then implementing a Customer Advocacy function may provide you significant benefits!

In the next edition we will provide an overview of what Customer Advocacy is and what it isn't.

In the meantime, if you would like to receive an in-depth overview of this topic and/or conduct a strategy discussion regarding your Customer Advocacy initiative (or concept), feel free to give us a call.

Becoming Customer Centric - Communicate Back to the Customer Base
by Craig Bailey

This is the final article in our Voice of the Customer (VoC) series. In the previous edition, we discussed how to respond to the customer, based on the results of your VoC input and analysis, by implementing account strategies. We complete this topic by sharing approaches that you can take to provide an overall update to the customer base (at large, or just those that participated in your VoC activities).

Since it is not feasible to respond to all customers in the detailed manner associated with implementing account strategies, it is important to provide the overall customer base a separate response to their input. This update could be performed in a number of ways:

  • Publishing a periodic newsletter (print or email)
  • Posting information on your web-site, alerting customers via email to view the update
  • Formally instituting this update as a key component of the firm's account management practices for all or various segments of the customer base
  • Providing an overview during user-group and/or board of advisor meetings
  • Providing a direct response to those that participated in a particular VoC activity (survey, etc.)

In summary, it is important to use the appropriate means possible to communicate to the customer what was heard and learned, what has been done, and what is planned to continuously improve the experience the customer has with the firm.

This completes the series on leveraging a Voice of the Customer program in your quest to transform your organization into a Customer Centric firm. If you'd like assistance with your VoC program or would like to brainstorm on how you can "get there" more quickly, feel free to contact us. We assist firms in implementing these programs using time-proven approaches and process templates. We can help you hit the ground running and quickly reap the benefits of a VoC program.

View previous articles in this series.

Contents

+ Becoming Customer Centric
+ Customer Advocacy - Why The Need?

+ Recommended Reading
+ Reader-Input Incentive Plan
 


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View previous newsletters

 

Recommended Reading

"There never will be any boss but the customer" states Earl Nightingale in his article
The Boss (current issue of AdvantEdge magazine). In his article, Mr. Nightingale offers interesting insight into who your boss really is - the customer - and translates this idea into a practical approach to living daily life.

 

Reader-Input Incentive Program
Do you have opinions or input on any of our articles? Send us feedback you think might be useful to our readers. If we publish it, you'll get your pick of an item from the Customer Centricity Online Store.


About Customer Centricity, Inc.
We strengthen overall company performance through better service delivery and management.

We boost efficiencies in front-line customer service and technical support teams, order processing, fulfillment, field service, logistics and other key operations functions.

In short, we align the resources of your organization to exceed your customers' expectations in the most effective and efficient manner possible.

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