How do your customers see you — as a trusted partner or a necessary evil (or worse)?
The answer to that question can depend in large part on how you manage your customer relationships. Relationship management capability is not only critical to achieving the expected profitability of outsourcing contracts and increasing their chances of renewal, but also a source of differentiation in an ever-more competitive marketplace.
Standing Apart From the Pack in Selection
Many buyers feel that among their highly qualified choices, differences in technology, operational efficiency, and even price are rapidly narrowing. Because the key to actually achieving the benefit of their business case is whether they and their service provider can work together effectively, sophisticated buyers are asking more questions about governance and relationship management. To succeed, service providers must provide detailed, credible responses.
Getting Off on the Right Foot
The problems of most outsourcing deals tie back directly to how those deals were negotiated and transitioned — assumptions made on both sides, perceptions and expectations created during the process, commitments left unclear, and relationships damaged by difficult tactics. The parties then rush to “go live” with reluctant business units, thinly developed governance mechanisms, and little alignment regarding what will make the relationship a success for all involved.
Delivering Profitably While Satisfying Customers
Over the past decade, most providers have invested heavily in technology, skills, and process discipline to drive quality and efficiency – factors that were critical to wining the trust necessary to enter into new relationships. To build and retain these relationships, deliver profitably, and make good on their brand promise, they need to pay the same sort of attention to relationship management – including putting in place the right processes, tools, and skills.
Ensuring Effective Mid-Course Corrections
Over the life of a multi-year arrangement, challenges invariably arise. Goals, strategies, and technology change, leadership turns over, and delivery problems crop up. Even in stable relationships that are delivering the expected savings, some stakeholders eventually start to ask “What have you done for me lately? Where’s my innovation?” All relationships encounter some challenges and changes; how you deal with those makes all the difference.