Common Threads & Common Threats
(In constructing the “Last Book”, I’ve realized that there are several important topics yet to be covered in the previous 200-plus blog posts. Accordingly, there are a few more weekly missives headed your way before the book’s completed assembly. This is an important one that I’ve overlooked, until now.)
Tenacity’s experience indicates that our ability to be highly effective in serving our clients is always enhanced the more FreshEyes® Reviews and PostMortem AuditsSM we are able to conduct on their behalf. These interviews give us deep insight into our client’s systemic strengths and weaknesses. As the voice of the customer, we can provide valuable feedback as to how they are performing in an individual account, or where they faltered in having been terminated. Often our client’s targeted responses to this data has saved clients that otherwise would have been lost.
Still, patterns are significant and trends are important indicators. It seldom makes sense to base important decisions, especially strategic ones, on single occurrences. This is true in performance appraisals, relationship commitments, battle planning, hiring and promoting. It holds true also for strategic planning and determining investments to be made in capabilities to be built – or others better to be abandoned.
After six to ten FreshEyes Reviews and / or PostMortems, we nearly always begin to see patterns emerge. Our transcriptionists often detect them even before we, as interviewers, do. Often the trends highlight significant strengths – the things we want to help our clients do more of – and facilitate spreading throughout the company. Sometimes they point to systemic weaknesses or oversights that need shoring up. From time to time they give important insights to competitive strategy. Occasionally they uncover important market opportunities our client hasn’t been attuned to. Without fail, if it’s a pattern, it’s important.
These patterns and trends are ‘big picture’ feedback that goes well beyond any one particular account. They represent important inputs for senior management to base an array of strategic decisions. Accordingly, after a representative sampling of interviews, we gather the executives together and formally report on these patterns. The presentations we make to management and the discussions we lead are called “Common Threads & Common Threats”.
The data is powerful because we are able to offer succinct statements highlighting the observation we are making that describes the pattern, then support it with actual interview quotes lifted from the transcripts. Taken alongside other information available to them from internal feedback, market research, and other surveys, this can help guide sound decision-making. Our clients value it highly – and they should – it’s the authentic voice of their own customers – and not just once, but clearly trending.
The effectives uses of this data are still not over. If you refer back to the Clients for Life® client retention process chart (see Chapter 3 “A Formal Process For Retaining Clients”), you’ll note that Common Threads and Common Threats cycle back to the elements of Senior Management Strategy. Specifically, Common Threats – those trends that consistently imperil our business, should be considered in Lessons Learned such that all our people understand the things that consistently threaten our business. Common Threads is equally valuable input to Right Clients Right Terms®.
In this way, Clients for Life is ever evolving in its ability to respond to changes in the marketplace and the competitive landscape. As such, it represents the only end-to-end comprehensive formal process really helping you keep the clients that you have worked so hard to get. Now that’s a trend we can definitely live with — and profit from.
Steve & John