Perfecting Service Management

Issue #93

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Join Craig Bailey for Seminar in Malaysia
If you are considering embarking on the journey to becoming customer centric, join Customer Centricity president Craig Bailey as he delivers a 2-day seminar entitled Customer Centricity - Leveraging the Voice of the Customer to Maximize Business Results on 17-18 April, 2006, in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. The seminar, organized in conjunction with Global Intelligence Networks, will cover strategic and tactical approaches to becoming customer centric. Mention this newsletter and receive a 30% registration discount.

Who Owns the Outsourcer Relationship?
by Craig Bailey

This is the second article in our series on maximizing outsourcer relationships. The prior edition discussed the importance of partnering with your outsourcer. We will now share pragmatic ways to do so.

A key question is: "Who owns the outsourcer relationship?" There is a two-part answer:

  1. The overall business sponsor who provides strategic direction.

  2. The person who provides day-to-day direction, even oversight, of the outsourcer.

To ensure that the overall relationship is productive and meeting business goals, you will want to establish executive ownership that provides:

  • Clarity on how the outsourcer fits in with the strategic direction of your firm,
  • Clear strategic direction and objectives for the relationship,
  • Company updates to ensure that the outsourcer (partner) is attuned to your business climate (challenges and opportunities), key initiatives, new products, etc. and can prepare or adapt accordingly, and
  • Sponsorship for addressing key issues or initiatives that the partner recommends in order to improve the overall outcome of the relationship (business objectives).

To ensure day-to-day effectiveness of the relationship, you'll want to establish a point person who serves as a single point of contact for the outsourcer. This person would be responsible for answering questions and resolving issues in a timely manner (with help, as appropriate), to keep the partnership on track and moving forward.

Too often we have seen outsourced relationships fail because the customer assumes that the outsourcer is simply a "black box." More specifically, an assumption is made that the outsourcer doesn't need ongoing updates on company direction, new products, etc., and the outsourcer can't possibly add any value by letting us (the customer) know how we might improve the relationship and business objectives. Additionally, if the customer doesn't provide the outsourcer with a solid point of contact who is highly responsive, then minor issues will tend to languish and turn into larger issues later on. Any successful partnership depends on open, timely, two-way communication. It is up to the people in the relationship the relationship owners to ensure the right level of communication is occurring, on both sides.

In the next few editions of this newsletter, we will cover:

  Establishing and managing to policy

  Creating realistic, aligned and measurable goals

  Inclusion within the inner circle

In closing, if you'd like an objective perspective on how effectively you are managing your outsourcer relationships, give us a call. We would be happy to perform a situational assessment, providing you a read-out of what is working well (to keep doing), opportunities for improvement and a pragmatic road-map for closing the gap between where you are and where you want to be.

View previous articles in this series.

Is Your Customer Service Human or Machine? Your Customers Know

A recent Today Show covered the topic of the backlash against voice prompts and endless menus to get to a live support person. One website, www.gethuman.com, actually tracks wait times, secret phone numbers to reach a human, or ways of by-passing the menu system to get to an agent. The piece also discussed how some companies are specifically marketing that you can readily reach a live person (e.g. Citibank).

Consumers: you might consider visiting www.gethuman.com to obtain the (easy) ways to reach a human at the various companies you do business with. And, providing input related to the experiences you've had.

Product/Service providers: you might consider the fact that having a machine performing as the "face of your company" without easy ways to reach a human is serving to alienate your customers. Instead of thinking "save costs" how about thinking "save customers." Once alienated, customers will easily switch to another firm and will talk about the less-than-pleasant experience they had with your firm. Oh, and watch for the report that will be published by gethuman to rank how you stack up, compared to others in your space, in delivering customer service. Good luck!

 

Contents

+ Who Owns the Outsourcer Relationship?
+ Is Your Customer Service Human or Machine?  Your Customers Know
+ Recommended Reading
 


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Article in CRM Today
Is there a Governor on your Telemarketing Program? by Craig Bailey has been published in CRM Today magazine. Go ahead and check it out!

Recommended Reading
CRM Today Magazine reports a new Consumer Study released by Five9, Inc., a provider of on-demand telemarketing, customer service, and call center solutions for customer interaction management. The study, based on Five9, Inc.'s annual Call Center Customer Care Benchmarking Study, has several key findings highlighted in the CRM Today article, including the importance of 24 x 7 customer service, and the strong impact of good customer service on future purchases.


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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