Engaging Clients is the core of profitable futures.

The Service Profit Chain model (Heskett etal) is a brilliant model to understand the value of an employee that is engaged, valued and delivering value to the customer. Although the lower half of the model explores the important of employee engagement the second half of the model majors on the customer focus.

This next level is to understand the customer. In other words what is the customer actually looking for the company to do - ‘the jobs’ as Clayton Christensen famously titled the actual needs of the clients.

I like the idea of ‘jobs’ as my expectation of a product is the outcome I expect it to achieve, not necessarily the perceived sales benefits. 

So for instance my love of Apple is that ‘it just works and I don’t feel disabled in my IT experience’ … I don’t care much about processor or graphics power numbers, so giving me a +% there won’t activate my purchase - I just want to open the box and enjoy the fact ‘it works!!’ - this is my ‘job’.

So often what the client actually wants achieved, and what the company thinks differ!  

EG ‘perks’ by Sky? - I don’t want to bother with special offers I just wanted all the TV I wanted to see- and i’m not sure you are the best value currently - why offer me special extra buys outside of TV when I’d like a visual experience thats tailored to me instead?

From ‘jobs’ - The next layer is then to discover the touch-points between the customer and the company. Often this creates multiple focus areas for the company to improve - is the company actually answering the needs of the customer - and is well worthwhile particularly in dealing with gapping holes in service. This is done through a customer journey workshop - mapping the how different parts of the business interact.

Although touch-points create a great opportunity to deliver better value, beyond this is the design of the business process to meet the customer overall journey.

I think this speaks to a method to engineer the small changes needed from scores of ‘7/8’ in  ‘satisfied clients’ but also in ‘the zone of indifference’! -  to ‘very satisfied/apostles’ of your brand.

It considers the whole journey of the client through the business and the emotive fact that it only takes small pushes to change the experience.

We have all felt this. For me a recent very good experience with a surgeon, his competence and definite ‘going beyond the norm’ way of working, was dented by one call to his reception which I felt showed lack of connection, superiority of manner and dis-courtesy. My ‘journey’ was back into the ‘7/8’ region, and thus my overall experience.

Commercially, to date, he is in a profession that this sort of thing may not affect him. He is not in as sensitive ‘utilities’ market like Sky. But it will in longer term, as transparency and choice come into play. 

Indeed it may be one of the few ways they could increase their professional business outcomes.

For many B2B professional business’s this will be the challenge, as further cutting costs and increasing systems processes (lean and agile) come to an end and the trending focus being my experience and choice of service provider to meet my needs.