Recently, we had a long internal discussion on an important factor that makes or breaks service companies : “Easy To Do Business” index. Our Senior CRM Consultant Padmanabha Rao wrote this wonderful piece, which discusses this topic in detail, with specific examples which any business can use and benefit:
Here’s what I believe makes for being easy to do business with. This is personal in that, it is what I usually expect as a customer.
1. Long lead times for the customer:
- a week or more earlier informing them about decisions dates
- sufficiently long time for them to internally deliberate on the decisions we need from them2. Short turn around to the customer:
- 2 to 8 (office) hours for project/business correspondence
- 8 to 36 (clock) hours for technical/requirements/solutions correspondence
3. Response/inputs/outputs that answer the likely next questions, thus preventing drawn out correspondences.
4. Streamlined project steps, thus structuring what is typically a nebulous/risky/confusing activity of all this technology purchasing/signing-off. Telling what we are going to do, doing it, and telling what we have done -crisp, habitually and frequently.
5. Telling everything without being asked, well in advance, and in a language that is suited to the specific individual.
And thus, always and only focused on the systems integration work that we are delivering. i.e. we focus on the meaning and delivery of mind-blowingly useful technology at the alter of business, i.e on the mind/leg work involved, for a successful delivery, in all the members namely, the accountable executive, the users, the client project manager, the platform company oracle, our sales manager, our project manager, our testers, our developers and our analysts. i.e. on building things that we would enjoy using ourselves.
Ok, that last paragraph can sound a bit dreamy, I see. It’s 2AM now. I have just decided to gift my parents an iPad, and I agonized much about whether it was worth all that cash (I mean, my parents can’t tell a keyboard from a monitor) but then I sat back and realised the insane amount of hard work that has gone into that piece -and closed the deal. That thing might get crushed if one of my parents accidentally sat on it (which i am quite sure will happen one fine day) but in the duration that they might use that device, I am very sure they will enjoy it.
Let us just look at the heartbreaking history of the Russians’ attempt at spacecrafts to Mars; they have failed 18 out of 20 times in the last forty years, and yet they made the complex ever spacecraft attempt last month, and failed again. Everyone knows they will admit their mistakes and make an even more bold attempt next time.
In a nut shell, It’s easy to do business if everyone’s dreaming big!