“Attaining Customer Success via Vendor Engagement”
The Customer Experience Service Model 4 Ps:
Delivering sustainable Customer Experience (CX) is upscaling as a business priority. This is turning inevitable in the “Age of the Customer”. For service providers to attain customer satisfaction sustainably, they are to work on four key foundational pillars:
- As well, Platforms/Systems
The four foundational pillars need careful management with attention and focus. In this particular article, special focus is to go to the fourth pillar “The platforms/systems”
Platforms/Systems role in the Customer Experience attainment:
The Technical platforms/systems play a pivotal role in Customer Experience Management across the end-2-end Customer Journey. This role supports key CX objectives like Customer Success, Customer Effort Streamlining and Customer Satisfaction as well.
Thus achieving vendor engagement usually occurs @ multiple stages. In the particular article, we shall examine together the stage of engaging and managing vendors from after selection all the way through delivery.
Vendor Engagement – The right click:
After the vendor/Solution provider selection, it is essential to have the right click with the selected vendor. Firstly via selecting/having an internal partner from the Technology/IT department (within the organization). This is a key success factor, considering his previous experience in managing vendors and delivering solutions. It is important though to keep a rule in your mind, which is “The ownership is yours” despite the nature and the number of the partners.
A key starting point is to have the customer Journey mapped with the four service model pillars (4 Ps), whereas, yourself, your team, the technology partner and the vendor are able to vividly visualize the area/(s) of action/optimization.
Doing this whilst backed with the right quantitative and qualitative analysis is crucial for the Customer Experience situation Management.
Additionally, sharing your organization’s vision and strategic plan/high-level objectives is another critical team/vendor engagement pillar. All of the previously mentioned are engagement basics for the solution deployment. The shared aspects are reflecting the degree of the project owner empowerment, and the focus areas for the solution in a factual manner rather than the legacy directive approach. It does not work anymore that I am the customer, you are the vendor, and you follow my direction as it is!
Vendor Engagement – Co-habilitation:
This step includes inviting and allowing the vendor to live your own life on the ground fully. In this stage, the vendor escorted by the service provider/customer is to co-habilitate across multiple touch points and channels taking notes and pictures so that he fully digests the situation from the end-user/service provider perspective. In certain particular cases, we could make him live a full customer simulation (If needed).
Vendor Engagement – Clarity and specification:
Engaging the vendor is essential, yet official documentation and communication stay an important pillars. The RFP document that has the detailed requirements (specific details), in addition to the vision, the objectives in writing. Developing and sharing a written list of items/functions that are non-compromisable and as well areas of flexibility.
Setting a periodical meeting or more with the vendor and the delivery team is a good tradition that ensures the continuous alignment and understanding of the situation and the requirements delivery progress.
Vendor Engagement – Solution Delivery & Implementation:
At this stage, it is better to swap seats, rather than bring the vendor to your life, you will need to go and live the vendors’ life, whereas you will be following on your requirements delivery.
Your presence should not be all the time, yet important at certain checking points to confirm that the delivery will be satisfactory.
Inviting a selection of your customers’ to test the solution beta version will hit two birds with one stone; vendor engagement and Customers’ engagement.
At Implementation, it is essential to supply the vendor with the needed basis for success along with managing the needed internal support and change management.
The following 10 points summarizing the methodology for Vendor Engagement Conceptology:
- Be very careful in selecting the right Technology partner and engaging him.
- Plot your Customers’ Journey along with the service model pillars
- Share your expectations in writing, yet allow a space for the vendor expertise and Innovation
- Engage the selected Vendor in your Operational cycle
- Escort your Vendor in full customer Simulation experience
- Stay closer to the vendor during the solution design phase
- Have a plan B in case delivery witnessed any hick-ups
- Have a group of your customers and end users testing the solution beta version
- Give strong support to the implementation stage
- Have the vendor with you in premises for the first 60-90 days after launch