Over the past couple weeks, I've shared with you two stores about how some of our customers are finding practical ways with Render to get their organizations to be more customer centric. Here's the continuation in that series....
If you're an account manager, you probably live and breathe the daily management of critical customer-facing initiatives. Which means you probably have to collaborate not only cross-functionally in your organization but also with your customers. As such, we don't have to tell you that internal account plans are not optimal to create the accountability, visibility and alignment on initiative execution.
In order to assure customer engagement with key/strategic accounts, some companies are using Render to achieve success by providing their customers self-service access to a list of the top programs, deals, issues, innovations their customers care about. When customers can access content they care about, it has a way of driving more customer centric behavior internally.
Here is a quick and easy path to getting this done:
Replace the Presentation With a Scorecard. Every time you meet with customers, replace the mentality of pitching with an attitude of "here's the update." This should be a simple table with columns for Initiative Name, Owner, Promised Completion Date, Expected Completion Date, Status and Latest News. That's it. Show it to the customer (even if its blank) and say I'd like to operate around this simple list. Using the list will simplify customer meeting prep for you and create a simpler experience for customers to engage and collaborate. You can always back up this list with supplemental materials and details.
Put the Scorecard in a Place Your Customers Can Access. There are numerous tools out there to establish self-service access to information. You can use Sharepoint, DropBox or many other secure file sharing utilities, but of course, we think our web portal is the best.
Ask Your Customers How You Can Help Them Make More Money. With a simple, blank table that is accessible to customers, it is time to fill it in. Start by asking the customer how you can help make them more money. Write those things down with a status of Not Approved. Show customers you have listened and documented such that there is accountability to consider and responsiveness to the customer's request.
Add Existing Work, Critical Issues and Big Deals. While decisions are being made on customer requests, add ongoing efforts to the scorecard. Often times there are disparate lists of critical issues, programs being executed, or upcoming deals floating around emails and spreadsheets in the organization. Consolidate them and pick the most important. Then confirm with the customer whether those things should be on the scorecard.
Establish Dates and Owners. As initiatives in the scorecard are approved, first establish expectations on target dates and internal owners. Putting this info on the scorecard establishes accountability internally to get things done for the customer on time. This is the first act that will begin driving an organization to become more customer-centric.
Establish Critical Mass. While the above actions are effective for a few accounts, real change will being when critical mass is achieved. The numbers vary based on your organization, but companies using Render see dramatic change in their organizations when scorecards are established for the top 10 accounts…and that change will benefit the rest of the key accounts. Critical mass gives an organization the sense that these initiatives are real data now that needs to be managed and discussed and accountability to execute on behalf of customer is real.
Establish Management Reviews. With critical mass, you can add these scorecards into existing management processes, ranging from internal account reviews to cross-functional meetings to review 'At Risk' items across all accounts. The point is that these processes are easier to establish with data and customer expectations in place. If you make these scorecards a part of how you work, ultimately it will directly improve the customer centricity of an organization.
Those points are just a quick rundown on the steps to take in giving customers access to your initiative scorecard for greater engagement. If you want to learn more about the details of getting it done, send us a message below and we'll be happy to show you how it works in Render.