Show your intentions

by C. Villefrance Moeller, TalesOfLeading

“I’m here to map your tasks and calculate an offer on taking over your jobs.”

That was basically what I told them. Should I be honest and tell them? I chose to do so and to my surprise they didn’t show me the door. On the contrary I was received with respect. All through the day I followed their work and took notes. We talked about the work and about their organization. I got all the information I needed and went back to make an offer together with my colleagues. Sometimes we would win the tender and sometimes we didn’t. Still I think about these people who shared with me what their work was about knowing the risk. The most important learning I took with me from those years was the importance of being honest and open about my intentions.

Offering your customers a service

A lot of companies have expanded their business model with service. They are not only making and selling products. They also offer maintenance or data-collection improving the customers use of the product. It’s another channel in the business where you use other competencies as knowledge about how the customers use the product and what is important for them. If it’s maintaining production equipment they might be interested in have it as stable as possible. Your employees who make repairs and services will then talk to your customers employees about how to operate the equipment and what daily maintenance should be done. Your employees might experience that it is not always done as described in the instructions.

  • What do you tell customers using your products differently?

Fertile ground for collaboration

It can be tempting for your service providing employees to show the customer how excellent they are at doing their job. However, the customers employees do have very important informations that can improve your service. They are not necessarily interested in lectures that makes them look ridiculous. Curiosity is another approach to clarify the work processes at your customer. It can open up for information about the customers conditions, the products and demands. Service providers’ ability to develop the relation to the customer is critical to access these informations.

  • What collaborative competencies do you service providing employees have?

Sharing information with the rest of the organization

Your excellent collaborative service providing employees now have a lot of information about what works and doesn’t work when your customer use your product. How do you then utilize this information for improving your product? Are these employees a part of developing new products? Do they have to fill out reports stored in foggy data systems? In short:

  • Do you have a collaborative process for integrating information about customers use of your products into product development?

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