by: Gary Crouch
A Standard is an idea or thing used as a measure, norm, or model in comparative evaluations. CS3’s 18 Service Pillars are the standards we use as our model to measure the quality of the services we provide our clients. While some of the Pillars are very specific, others are of a more general nature. Taken as a whole, they provide the parameters within which we operate assuring the customer’s needs are the focus, not the process of team dynamics, or the personality quirks of its members.
Focus on Delivering Value – Everything you do for a client should provide a return on their investment. Just because you CAN do something, does not mean that you SHOULD.
Delivering Value to our customers is the basis for our success. No organization enters into an agreement unless it expects to receive more value than it gives up. The perpetuation of any business requires the achievement of a profit. The customer expects results which will make them more effective, help them make better decisions or achieve better results.
From experience, a customer will sometimes ask for assistance without explaining the underlying issues or concerns. Every discussion presents the possibility of miss-communication. We should ask to be “brought in” to the customer’s decision-making process. While speed is sometimes of the essence, understanding the details of the requested solution provides two benefits.
First, we gain a better understanding of the “why” behind the problem. By following the thought process from challenge to conceived solution and verifying the validity of each assumption and conclusion we help the customer vet the issue to the fullest extent. Fully understanding the objective allows the consultant to focus on a very specific target. Missing the desired results only serves to increase costs and erode the customer’s trust in our advice. Hitting the target provides mutual opportunity for expanded profits into the future.
Second, as the cliché goes, two heads are better than one. Fully understanding the desired result allows the consultant to influence the “how” of the solution. By feeding on each other’s ideas, the customer and consultant may discover many unconsidered options. The ensuing process of eliminating the majority of these options actually directs the team to the best solution. The customer and the consultant ultimately come to agree on the steps which should be taken to deliver the exact solution desired with the least amount of effort.
If our understanding of the “why” points the consultant to a different conclusion, she owes it to the customer to communicate her concerns regarding the achievement of the value sought. Of course, the customer’s decision will prevail, but she has been the trusted advisor the customer will call the next time he needs to implement a value proposition.