The aspirations of many service providers is to be the best or as it is written in many mission statements, to be the ”FIRST Choice" partner in the industry they serve. Here are five (5) things to consider in making your company number one (#1) or in this instance F.I.R.S.T.
Cost is a major aspect of any solution and in most instances it's the make or break factor to closing the sale. The responsibility of the sales executive/solution provider is to identify where their solution fits in their client's cost structure. This should be identified in the qualification and investigation stages of the sales process. With the local/global economic situation over the last 5-8 years to present we know that cost can sometimes be a difficult thing to manage, especially when we are looking at foreign exchange rates, increased competition, etc. but ultimately it must be managed and communicated to the client so that both provider and client are on the same page. It's wise to remember that your solution may also be one (1) part of an entire project, so being able to structure your pricing to be part of an overall solution is extremely important.
Your solution/service fits an immediate or future need, its important that the service provider has the right infrastructure to provide the services. On the clients end they too must have the relevant infrastructure for the solution to properly implemented. Imagine getting commitment from the client, you begin the process and then realize that there are key things missing. This oversight now creates delays based upon the type of solution, when the error was identified, what stage the project is in, etc. In most instances with errors like these cost is also affected which ties back into our first point of finance. Even if the provider absorbs the financial cost for any delays, there is still the "cost" of time to completion for the client. Not to mention the lack of confidence that creeps into the customer's mind on choosing you as a provider.
To complete any task you must have the right tools regardless of how skilled the tradesman, so having the right resources is something that cannot be taken for granted by either client or service provider. From the side of the service provider, the right resources starts from the sales executive. They need to be well trained, have the right tools, materials, etc. so that they can assist the client in making the best decisions. From the client's standpoint the resources relates to having the right persons qualified and trained to effectively use the solution after implementation.
What makes retail giants like Mc Donald’s, Macy's, Wendy's, etc very successful is the fact that they have taken time to develop a system that takes the customer from point A to B almost seamlessly. Have you ever gone to an establishment ordered a meal, and the cashier is also preparing the fries? That's not a proper working system, plus it means they are also low on resources. Becoming number one means that the customer's journey has to be painless, there must be contingencies in place when there are challenges. Apple, HP, Microsoft, even our local Digicel Group have made sure to follow this rule, hence their level of success.
In a recent survey on the level of customer service in Trinidad & Tobago (Customer Service In Trinidad & Tobago Survey Results). Timeliness was a big contributor to the level of dissatisfaction being experienced by many clients. Time is a major component in being a number one (1) service provider and everyone in the organization must have this understanding, especially those with direct contact with the client. If a client requests a quotation, and it’s delivered late, then entire sale process and customer buying process will be negatively affected. Most importantly this negatively impacts their perception of your company's level of professionalism and “value proposition”. The client always has options and if you are unable to deliver on time, you will eventually lose the customer.
Many companies draft their mission statements with the aspiration of becoming the customers “FIRST Choice Partner”, which is great. Its important to have an idea of what the success of being FIRST looks like and draft your business model to suite. Keep these five (5) things in mind as they can help you become your customers #1.
About the Author: Lyndon is the founder and managing director of OPAAT-SWY Consulting Ltd. He is passionate about life and unlimited achievements. His areas of expertise are sales, customer service coaching, leadership and motivational speaking. He has also contributed to Culture Pulse Magazine.