Another Satisfied CCI Customer: Electronic Environments
I engaged Craig to
assist in my efforts to improve service quality and ensure we are prepared
to profitably scale the business with growth. He immediately hit the
ground running, performed a comprehensive assessment and delivered a
high-impact report-out with a clear set of pragmatic recommendations
inside of 10 days. In addition, he developed a customized seminar that was
delivered to my senior management team providing practical approaches and
techniques for improving how we manage our customer interactions and
relationships, and our business.
I would highly recommend Craig if you are looking to obtain an outside
objective perspective of how your firm is doing with respect to service
quality and performance. With Craig there is no "pie in the sky." It is
all "rubber meets the road."
Mike Kingsley - President, Electronic Environments Corporation
Electronic Environments Corporation (EEC), headquartered in
Marlborough, Massachusetts, is a national, specialized, facility
management company focused on servicing the physical utilities (UPS,
Batteries, DC Power, HVAC, Standby Generation, and Fire Protection
Systems) that support 24x7 Information Technology & Telecommunication
Networks. Since 1986, EEC's services have been relied upon by mission
critical facilities with the largest mainframe sites to the smallest
telecom/network rooms. As a single source provider of vertically
integrated services (engineering, installation, and maintenance), EEC has
become a quality, economical solution for its many Fortune 500 clients.
EEC differentiates its offerings by focusing on its clients' needs and the
customer experience. EEC's many components - refined processes, advanced
technologies, GPS tracking, web-based site maintenance reporting,
web-based hazardous waste tracking, in-house professional engineers,
factory and cross trained field technicians, electronic data collection,
and more - all work together to make the vendor client experience an
enjoyable one. EEC offers its clients one number, one contract, one
contact, and one source of accountability.
Customer Advocacy - Project Management Basics, Part 1
I often say that "if
you have something important to accomplish that has more than 5 moving
parts, you need a project plan." This is crucial not only for internal
(back-office) projects but more-so for those projects that directly impact
your external / paying customer. Effective project management is key to
ensuring holistic delivery on the commitments your firm has made to the
customer, and is an important skill to performing as a highly effective
The basics of project management include:
- Define the boundaries, resources and stakeholders
- Divide and conquer
- Obtain commitments and caveats
- Document and publish the plan
- Conduct periodic status meetings
- Check-in on critical tasks
- Communicate progress
In this article, I will cover the first 3 items from the list. The final 4
items will be covered in the next installment.
Define the boundaries, resources and stakeholders
The first step to driving a project involves clearly identifying the
Scope and objectives - The goal(s) of the project and
anticipated outcome(s). In defining scope and objectives, it is also
effective to identify what the project is NOT intended to accomplish.
Stakeholders - The project sponsors, business owner(s),
participants, subject matter experts, customers and champions at all
levels (executives to individual contributors).
Risks and assumptions - Those factors which may derail
the project and potential undesirable outcomes if the project is not
managed effectively. Additionally, you will want to identify all
assumptions that you are making and/or basing your approach on.
this information in a project overview document, you will want to review
this material with those involved in the project to ensure everyone is on
the same page. By doing so, you will continue to hone the above and
establish an increasingly clearer vision for the project team.
Divide and conquer
Once you know the boundaries, resources and stakeholders of the project,
it is important to break down the discrete tasks and activities necessary
to complete the project and establish ownership of each.
I am often engaged on projects that have been underway for several weeks
or months, to get things back on track. Frequently, numerous people have
been engaged, each working hard on project activities, but dates and
milestones have continuously slipped. Once I complete the above steps
(defining the boundaries), it often becomes clear that there are multiple
"phases of value" that can be delivered to the [project] customer.
Dividing the project into these phases of value increases the project
team's focus and enables the team to achieve success in bite-sized chunks,
thus boosting confidence levels of the project team and the [project]
Obtain commitments and caveats
Once you know the project tasks and activities, you need to obtain
commitment from task owners as to when each will be completed. This is
where the rubber meets the road. Do you simply take the task owner's
commitment at face value (I'll get this task done by 12/6)? Often you'll
hear a task owner indicate something to the effect of; "I'll get it done,
God willing and the creek don't rise." As the project manager, you need to
determine the reasons why the creek will rise. While the task owner may
have subject matter expertise in areas that you (the project manager) do
not, you need to use your critical thinking skills to obtain an
appropriate level of understanding to base your project plan on. You might
ask questions such as: "What are the prerequisites to you completing this
task? Do you have any vacation planned between now and then? What are the
risks that might impact your ability to complete this task by the date you
If you find that the timeframe to complete a critical path task seems
unreasonable, you will then want to do a deep dive to learn more about the
nature of the task and approach being taken to complete it. You may find
that they are trying to build a Mercedes when all you need is a Pontiac to
get the job done. You certainly want quality, but there is a business
(cost/benefit) trade-off that you, the project manager, need to
In the next edition, I will cover the 4 remaining "basics" of project
management. In the meantime, if you have a critical project that you want
to ensure achieves desired outcomes, or one that continues to miss the
mark, give us a call. We would be happy to provide insight and guidance on
approaches we have taken to ensure project success in numerous situations.
And, if it makes sense, we'd be happy to engage with you to drive the
project to achieve desired outcomes.
View previous articles in this series.
Thumbs Up / Thumbs Down
This column is
devoted to memorable customer experiences, the good, the bad, and the
ugly. This issue provides an example of exemplary customer service.
When it comes to hotels, there is one place my family goes time after
time: Residence Inn by Marriott. We discovered this chain when looking for
a hotel that could accommodate sleeping our three young children close by
without all of us having to go to bed at the same time. The 2-bedroom
suites suit our sleeping requirements perfectly (us in one room, 2 kids in
second room, baby in crib that moves among 3 rooms for naps and
night-time). But what we have grown to depend on is consistency. We have
stayed at several different Residence Inn hotels across the country, and
we have received the same great service each time, from quickly fixing a
broken closet door, to providing Belgian waffles and Fruit Loops (a real
kid treat!) for breakfast, to finding us a room day after day, at a
reduced rate, as our return flight was cancelled 4 days in a row due to
blizzard snow in Boston.
We will be traveling to
Florida in a couple
of months with extended family and will need to stay in a hotel for one
night. For such a short stay and with more of us going, we have more
options with sleeping arrangements; however, as I started to read reviews
of other hotels and saw several comments like "we had been guaranteed a
non-smoking room but when we arrived, they only had smoking rooms," we
decided to stick with our consistently good Residence Inn, even if the
price was a little more. No reason to get up for our vacation on the wrong
side of the bed!
Editor's note: Understanding your
customers and providing them with quality customer service is very
important, but it is just the start. Being able to provide that level of
service on a consistent basis, for different customers, in different
situations, in different markets, is taking customer service to the next
level. Your customers will reward you for it with their loyalty.
Have your own customer service experience to share?
Email us. Names will be changed to protect the guilty....
View previous Thumbs Up/Thumbs Down articles.
+ Customer Advocacy - Project Management Basics, Part
+ Thumbs Up/Thumbs Down
+ Recommended Reading
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Partners with Buyerzone.com
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Check it out for yourself!
The holiday season is
upon us, that joyous time of year that causes us the most stress. Among
the many top-ten lists out there, we found this one by W. Michael King (on
the Direct Marketing Association website):
REMEMBER THIS: Ten Forget-Me-Nots for Maximizing Retail Holiday Profits.
While the article was written a year ago, the concepts apply equally to
now, and for years ahead.
Centricity Founder and President Craig Bailey for a seminar in Kuala
Lumpur, Malaysia, 10-11 April 2006. Rescheduled from October 2005, the
seminar covers both strategic and tactical approaches for a company to
become customer centric. At a strategic level, we will clearly outline a
road-map for creating a customer centric organization. At a tactical
level, we will cover practical approaches to enable customer service
representatives to deliver top-notch service. Please
contact us for more information.
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
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