Do you have an internal professional network that has your back? Especially when it comes to customer retention?
Many professionals have internal networks that never extend beyond their departments. Or, if they do cross over, they don’t stray too far away to network.
Developing a potent internal professional network, with breadth and depth to it, takes work. However, the effort is worth everyone’s time over the customer life cycle.
Here’s why. A dynamic internal professional network creates a system. Your system connects your professional post-sale dots to everyone else’s. Knowing who knows what and where to go for answers streamlines process completion, reduces delays in implementation and increases time-to-cash.
Have I got your attention?
An internal professional network includes all the folks who stick close to the customer, post-sale.
And hey, you are open-minded. Why should the post-sale internal network have all the fun? See whether those sales folks want to become part of your internal posse, as well.
Remember, your internal professional network becomes responsible for designing, delivering and executing what was sold. They identify flaws in specifications, as well as manufacturing capacity, which impact ability to deliver what was ordered, on time. This network becomes the face of your organization to customers, post-sale. Why continue to marginalize them?
Often, post-sale is when the sales force abandons customers as they pursue more well-compensated first-sale opportunities. However, when sales folks become part of the internal network, their performance improves in terms of customer retention and customer referral.
Everyone gets better and better and the customer benefits from your collaborative, internal network. What’s not to love?
In addition, this internal network includes professionals dealing with the seeds of customer dis-satisfaction, which germinate post-sale.
Let’s not forget the folks dealing with customer dis-satisfaction. Traditionally, customer service personnel are off-site, outsourced and even off-shored. As a result, they operate in a vacuum relative to meeting their own KPIs rather than as a part of a well-integrated system.
These folks hear the voice of the customer all day, each and every day. If you want the truth about product and service performance issues, and unmet customer needs, they are your go-to resources. All it takes is making a connection to one customer service professional and let them poll others in their own network. No matter where in the world they are located.
Building an internal professional network wouldn’t be complete without identifying a few Yodas®.
Within every organization, there is a parallel universe of what I like to call internal Yodas®. They train employees, know where the answers to hairy issues can be found, create Quality processes and lead scrum teams.
These Yodas are not necessarily found in the “usual” departments. Some of them function as floating internal consultants or organizational Fellows. And yes, they are intimidating. But you know, they started off way further down the hierarchy themselves.
Ask them good questions. Then, they become go-to resources of knowledge and alternative perspectives and processes. Their insights have a big impact on customer experience, customer success and customer retention. These Yodas are the folks who know what you don’t even know that you don’t know. (Read that sentence 5 times, it does make sense).
What does your current internal professional customer retention network look like? Go ahead. Make a list. Which disciplines are included? Which are missing?
Because, trust me, the next time an issue comes up and you sit there wondering “Who Ya Gonna Call?” you either have a great list, or not. Then, it’s too late to identify who is missing.
A little bit of professional innovation for you! Also, building that network does wonders for fostering a more collaborative and engaged workforce, as well.
Next steps towards professional innovation:
Babette Ten Haken serves organizations as a corporate catalyst and innovative speaker, strategist, coach and storyteller. Babette’s One Millimeter Mindset™ Workshops and Speaking programs leverage collaboration to catalyze professional innovation, workforce engagement and customer retention, especially in challenging Industrial Internet of Things environments. Babette’s playbook of IIoT team collaboration hacks, Do YOU Mean Business? is available on Amazon. She is a member of SME, ASQ, SHRM and the National Speakers Association. Image source: iStock