We all have our toolbox, right?
Without fail in every workshop with every client I lead a conversation ‘Above The Line, Below The Line’ or ‘Victor over Victim’. It is one of my most powerful models in my toolbox and my intention is to create a listening of Ownership, Accountability and Responsibility as I deliver their research results.
Prior to the conversation, whilst working through the research results I often hear staff preempting and justifying the results including blame, excuses, and yes, even denial.
When reading the customer comments some comments are glowing and others not so much. When listening to passive or detractor comments it’s easy for the staff to justify or blame a supplier or another company that is part of their supply chain, the same applies when the chain of supply equates to individual teams within the same company.
In this example, my client is the company who on sells the product to the customer they rely on the company who delivers the product to them and the company who designs the product.
In this workshop I was delivering research results that showed their NPS score needed lots of improvement, and the customer comments highlighted one area in particular as needing improvement – turn-around times.
In the workshop I ran, after presenting the results I observed the team spending too much time blaming their suppliers. I had to interrupt that conversation as we were getting nowhere. Here’s how my conversation went…. It’s easy to look at other companies or teams, but what can you take responsilibilty for?
I guarantee you, when you look at all providers whether another company or another team that you use to help you do your job, you’re going to already know the ones who you can really rely on. They are always in communication and the quality of the product is always consistent and they always meet their promised deadlines. I guarantee you can probably list those ones.
You can also list the ones who you maybe have some doubts about. You have to chase them for information, sometimes the quality is on par and sometimes it’s not, they rarely deliver on time – they are just not reliable.
And then there’s probably another category which is ones that really, you’d prefer not to have to use them at all, but you sort of have to. You know the one’s I’m talking about – the ones that you need to keep an eye on.
This gives us three categories A, B and C.
The conversation really landed and shifted both the listening and behavior in the room, when they started to say, ‘Yeah, we do know that’ and ‘We do know the suppliers who we can trust on timelines, and the ones that we can’t’.
What they got to see was …. they weren’t taking responsibility by doing nothing about that. They were just being victims to their circumstances.
Frequency Of Interaction
If you’re being responsible, surely, you’d have a higher frequency of interaction with the people that are concerning. You would do a bit more checking in with them than with the others, and you probably wouldn’t promise the customer the product will be there on a certain date, because you already know, that supplier or team normally let you down.
Instead, you’re going to adjust the way in which you present the turn-around time because of what you already know.More about this in next week’s article where we focus on 85% of the outcome is achieved in the first 15%.
As I’ve mentioned in other articles, it is important to ensure you reward and acknowledge those suppliers, teams and individuals that sit within category A.
That you keep an eye on category B, the frequency of interaction is so important when you experience doubt or unreliability. We must, increase the frequency that we spend time with them to observe and evaluate until such times as their performance gets better, then you can decrease the frequency.
My point is, whether you are interacting with category A, B or C everyone needs some level of frequency although you can’t treat everyone the same, it’s just way too labor intensive and it’s not necessary.
Here is another example. I was working with a client in South Africa, we were getting lots of feedback about their poor efficiency, the customer was always chasing up the delivery of their new engine. When I asked the team how often the supplier of the engines was accurate with their delivery times, after some discussion we worked it out to be 30% accuracy. I then I asked them what do you do when the company who builds the engine gives you a delivery time, they said that they call the client and let them know. This was a big Ah Ha moment as they were guaranteeing complaints and they were only going to be 30% accurate with the dates provided to the customer. They immediately changed this by being responsible about what they know and then looked at what they could control and were able to give honest feedback to customers.
When I look at my clients, it’s easy to tell who is operating ‘above the line’, compared to those who are operating ‘below the line’ – those with high NPS scores operate above the line. They’re not perfect, of course, no one’s perfect. But they take responsibility, get interested in and find out what’s going on and then work together to find a solution. They are committed to continuous improvement.
Who Are You and Your Team Being? Victors or Victims!
What can you take responsibility for?
What are you accountable for?
How do you take ownership?
If you would like to have a chat with me about the ‘Value’ contact me I look forward to hearing from you.
If you’ve enjoyed this update, feel free to share with someone else you know will find this article helpful. If someone has forwarded you this email, you are welcome to subscribe to The Customer Loyalty Conversation here.