Posted by Kathy Hamburger
I've been in the customer experience space for over 25 years and I've learned a thing or two about business attributes that lead to success in an outsourcing relationship. One thing for sure, it doesn't happen overnight. You have to be willing to invest time and resources to ensure that you are constantly working to create an environment that leads to a win-win partnership.
HGS was recently recognized by Everest Group for consistently ranking high in customer satisfaction. Below are some of the attributes that I follow that have helped me with successful client relationships.
1. Understand My Client’s Business
Learning the business of my clients is crucial. In a partnership where we are managing the customer experience of our clients’ consumers, we have to be our clients brand ambassadors. In order to do that, I have to be knowledge about the clients business so that it’s mirrored in the strategy and language my team adopts to serve the clients consumers. Being a brand ambassador is crucial to everyone that is managing the account. One of our Senior Directors who manages a Fortune 500 Fast Food chain says it best “We are ‘brandmasters”,’ in that we hold the ground, protect our client’s brand, and educate their customers to grow brand trust. We work as hard as our client does to win back customers.”
Before I commit to a partnership with a client, the top items on my to-do list are to conduct a deep dive into their business and understand their business needs and goals. Below are questions that I must find answers for to determine if this will be a successful partnership. For the most part, this is done before a commitment is made to ensure the partnership will be successful.
- What does the client want to achieve through a partnership with HGS?
- How does the client want to pace themselves while achieving these goals?
- What are the short and long term strategies of the client?
- What are the mission, vision and values of the client?
Getting these questions answered, along with others, and making sure that priorities are aligned will have a tremendous impact on the nature, scope and success of the partnership. It’s kind of like dating and marriage. Let’s make sure we know each other before we make that long term commitment. Understanding the client’s business is an important foundation which will help mold the overall business strategy.
2. Be Flexible
When I study a client’s business, I would have already started formulating a strategy for the clients success. But, it is very important to approach the partnership with an open mind. You never know from where a brilliant idea might develop from, right? For example, at HGS, we have incorporated a program called AIM (All Ideas Matter) where we get ideas from all HGS employees regarding anything from best practices regarding customer engagements to internal policies.
We aim to think different and focus on things that can benefit the client. In the midst of all this, we keep our eye on the prize…which is to delight customers by providing a fulfilling customer experience.
3. Willing to Create a Win-Win Scenario
It makes sense for any business relationship to be mutually rewarding. At HGS, we always aim for a strategy that will lead to a win-win scenario for our client as well as HGS.
Implementing a business strategy that includes new, different ideas and a deep understanding of the client’s business is a great strategy to try to create a win-win environment while keeping our clients' customers first.
4. Exceed Expectations
It’s good to set expectations early and clearly in the business relationship. All parties involved should know what the others will deliver and when. But, how about a situation where you get more than what you bargained for? We aim to go the extra mile and go above and beyond the agreed upon expectations.
For example, we work with a telecom provider with the expectation that we will bring down customer cancellations. Along with doing this, we also provide our client with the top reasons for cancellations; arming them with insights that will improve the customer experience.
5. Open Line of Communication
Communication channels between HGS and our clients are always open. Both parties need to know what’s happening with the account through regularly scheduled calls or meetings.
Open communication lines are a top requirement for a well-coordinated business partnership, which not only helps make changes in real time, but also ensures that all stakeholders are on the same page. Frequent communication avoids missing important developments related to the account and lets us keep a finger on the pulse of the client’s business.
6. Be Innovative
We are always looking for ways to implement new ideas. A plan may be working perfectly, but it doesn't hurt to be proactive and come up with innovative ways to achieve more success for the client. Because of our relationship, we are able to provide ideas for innovation in a client’s business from a different lens.
We don’t hesitate to embrace innovation. And at the same time, we know that innovation should not be created be at the expense of meeting the agreed upon expectations.
In the outsourcing space, considerable amount of my focus is on offering the best possible, customized experience for our clients’ consumers. To provide such an experience, a thorough understanding of the client’s business is needed. At HGS, we have over 40 years of experience providing multi-channel, end-to-end customer experience.
8. Cultural Fit
Cultural compatibility is essential for any business partnership to work. To a certain extent, the company culture influences how employees handle a situation. In the business process management industry, cultural fit may also extend to whether you prefer to work with a business partner that can offer on-shore, near-shore or off-shore centers. Regardless of location, you need to make sure you are working with a provider that can provide best practices that ensure that there is a seamless transition so that your consumers are not aware of any internal changes.
A strong partnership drives growth for the client’s business and strengthens our relationship. In addition, it facilitates exchange of information to enable smooth running of the business processes. Ultimately, strong and rewarding partnerships help increase customer satisfaction.
An outsourcing company’s ability to work fast and the ease of partnering with clients goes a long way in contributing to customer delight. We also train our workforce to quickly adapt to different client scenarios and deliver positive results.
What attributes have helped you in your business partnerships? Tweet me and share your thoughts.