The Change Agents of Serving a Client - Sitel - ContactCenterWorld.com Blog
I firmly believe that the rise of a professional methodology to manage client relationships is one of the most important changes in business that has emerged during the past two or three decades. The client relationship organization (or simply account management, if you rather) has been explored by many business-to-business partners across the globe to manage their relationships with strategically-important clients, and it has produced unquestionable business benefits.
However, to remain vital members of their organizations, the client management position must develop more breadth. I like to say that client relationship managers are also now “change agents”. In one of the most exciting and transformative eras in history, it is imperative that people managing client relationship become knowledgeable about trends affecting businesses, performance and finance, that they are prepared to adjust the types of tasks they perform, and that they proactively acquire the necessary knowledge and skills to function as full-fledged business partners.
We are all experiencing evolutionary change in almost all dimensions of our professional work environment. As competition has increased, businesses have responded by emphasizing three new priorities,
1) Adapting the quality of products and services according to customer needs to consequently increase sales
2) Reducing costs
3) Increasing productivity
Very straightforward, right?
But the fact is that many of our clients have adopted the concept of re-engineering to achieve these priorities which has naturally challenged the traditional approach of serving a client. As a result, everyone in a client-facing position, especially account managers, is being forced to become business partners and change agents, in a transition that can have a profound effect on the performance of the supplier organization. It is no wonder that many organizations like Sitel no longer see account managers as an extension of sales but as a core decision-making unit of excellence, with competencies involving collaborative skills, co-creating value.
In this fast-paced business world, we all recognized that account management is an organizational change, not a sales technique anymore. By positioning the account management position as business partners that enables transformation, we can ensure that they will continue to be involved in management decision making. Consequently, they are challenged to develop a thorough understanding of all aspects of our clients business, to provide insightful advice to top management, and serve as change agents.
This shift is not only improving the service vendor’s performance severely, but also means that we are getting closer to our clients, moving toward discussing their needs in a much broader business spectrum. We are learning to anticipate and recognize potential problems and develop solutions that benefit all stakeholders involved.
Nevertheless, the journey toward the new client relationship approach, although promising, is not easy. Serving a client requires being open to an evolving scope that entails entrepreneurship, an opportunity-driven mindset, and the willingness to provide employees with the autonomy, resources and support that can add serious fortitude to business relationships.
Publish Date: June 6, 2016 5:00 AM
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