The reality is insolvencies in the construction sector have doubled in the last 12 months. Marco, Director - Head of FTS ...
Crack the customer service code in these 5 keys ways
2 September 2021
The future of business development and marketing in the built environment’s founded in being able to deliver high levels of customer service; it’s service, not the sales that count. A recent statistic I read was that 58% of sales meetings in the B2B sector are of no value to the buyer; this points to an alarming lack of focus on customer’s requirements themselves.
Stop being blinkered on a set of targets to hit and start thinking about what you can deliver in terms of value; that way you’ll hit your numbers much easier.
What this means is that customer insight to produce solutions which are valued by the customer take huge precedent over a sales approach based on features and benefits of your existing products and services, which may not be even relevant to the customer’s problem.
The answer lies in creating one unified view of your customer, but herein lies the challenge. The customer’s journey with you has several layers and people in the mix and the level of service to the customer at each of these levels depends on 5 key things…
1. How well do you really understand your customer; do you work at this every day?
2. How well is everyone that interacts with the customer briefed on their requirements?
3. How well is customer service information communicated and shared between disciplines in the company from business development to delivery and from delivery to business development? In other words, in both directions…
4. How well do you utilise customer insight to create solutions of value to them?
5. How competent are your staff in client management skills and is there a need for training?
The key attribute to this process is collaboration between internal departments to create the unified customer view you’re seeking. Think about the layers in the customer journey:
1. Business development and marketing
2. …then bidding and estimating
3. …and then delivery and close out
Then, ask yourself the following questions:
…At which stage in the customer’s journey do we get the most problems?
…What do we do when there’s a problem?
…Who do we share the feedback with internally?
There’s no point in having a great business development and marketing team for example, if the customer experience flounders during bidding or delivery and close out.
The customer sees one thing and that’s your company name and brand represented by your people. If there’s a weak link in this chain at whatever layer, the customer will reserve the right to defect to a rival business whose client management’s far better.
There’s always considerable and valuable customer information ‘locked away’ and untapped in your business, which could assist the internal collaboration effort.
This is often the case because too many businesses operate in silos and don’t collaborate closely enough to bring a holistic view together.
During my bid writing work for instance, I often need to find examples of good practice or problem-solving evidence from those working in the delivery phase of a project. Quite often, I hear things that have never seen the light of day previously, mainly due to the fact that the person you’re talking to didn’t recognise the value in telling someone, “it’s what we do”, they say.
So, here’s some key takeaways…
…Create internal forums to dig deeper into how you’ve solved customer’s problems, considering the views of experienced and less experienced members of your team e.g., from project director to trainee level.
…Never underestimate the quality of untapped customer information within your business.
…Write your case studies and capability statements in the language of your customer, providing evidence and testimonials of how the value you created, solved their problems.