New Orleans, home to the French Quarter, Mardi Gras and the Saints. It is the birthplace of jazz and, of course, New Orleans gumbo. A blend of distinct, bold flavors, mixed and cooked-up into a single pot, gumbo is comfort food at its finest.
Warning: Reading further may cause drooling and lead to licking your screen
The secret to a great gumbo is the roux, which gives the gumbo its unique flavor profile. A roux has only two ingredients, oil and flour, mixed in a 1:1 ratio. It seems simple enough to prepare. Just heat the oil, add the flour and stir. The secret isn’t in the ingredients, rather it’s in the execution. You heat the oil, then slowly add the flour while you whisk it. This is the critical moment: turn-up the heat and keep stirring. No matter what’s going on in the background, keep stirring. The mixture starts clumpy, then liquifies, then, it starts to turn brown. Many folks stop here, but, if you’re brave enough to keep going, it gets better. It turns a delicious dark chocolate color. The pros will tell you it’s then (and only then) you add the roux to the cold chopped onions, bell peppers, celery and garlic. The darker the roux, the more mouth-watering the taste.
How good is your “roux”?
It’s tempting to think of communications products and services as commodities, because they use the same ingredients. But, like a great roux, differentiation comes from execution. Delivery, operation and support must focus on delivering a superior customer experience. There’s magic in delivering a service that delights the customer. From contact to cash (and everything in-between –quoting, design, order, delivery and support) organizations that excel at execution consistently experience higher growth, better retention and higher net promoter scores than their peers.
Some questions to consider when thinking about the customer experience you provide:
- Do you have an easy way for customers to see what you offer?
- Are you responsive to questions and requests for quotes?
- What are your delivery intervals?
- Do the services you offer have SLAs and are you exceeding them?
- Have you mapped-out the contact-to-cash lifecycle to determine how to improve it?
- Is the handoff between departments seamless, as orders are quoted, sold, delivered and supported?
While there is no shortage of opinions defining good execution, we think the recipe has three critical ingredients:
- Vision. Put yourself in your customer’s shoes. How does the handoff between your functional groups look from the receiving end?
- Alignment around goals and core values. What are the business processes that support our unique value? That’s what makes it taste so good.
- Feedback – if you can’t measure it, it doesn’t exist; and, if it doesn’t exist, you can’t make it better… make it magical!
Great execution leads to a great customer experience which delivers the results you seek.
- Customers keep coming back for second helpings – Increase your ARPU and margin
- Loyal customers stay longer – lower your churn
- An experience so good they’ll tell others – Referrals are the reward the keeps on giving.