03 Dec So, How Can You Ever Lose Them?
So How Can You Ever Lose Them?
PostMortem Auditssm (PMA’s) are one of our least favorite things to do at Tenacity, yet they are arguably the most valuable service we provide to our clients. The PMA involves a Tenacity interviewer meeting individually and face-to face with the key client personnel who were involved in the decision to terminate our client’s contract.
It can be gut wrenching — dissecting a failed relationship. In a divorce you might say the love is gone, the commitment broken, the magic lost. In a business relationship, usually the value has gone, the trust compromised, the enthusiasm waned.
Ultimately, value is the key word and the primary driver of retention. Value doesn’t have to be complicated – in fact it’s a pretty straightforward equation: V = Q ¸ C (Value is equal to Quality divided by Cost).
Cost, of course, is what is being paid for the service, or in some cases, the financial return generated. Let’s put that aside for now.
Quality is simply the ability of the service provider to understand the key corporate expectations of the client and to successfully execute against them. To know precisely how the expectations are prioritized and how their achievement will be specifically and quantitatively measured. Once these expectations are clearly understood — if they are achievable — if they are being consistently accomplished — and if proactive and intentional client communication is documenting this value created to all concerned parties, then how can you ever lose them? What else would have to happen?
Almost always, somewhere along the journey, expectations based value creation broke down, communication suffered, trust was damaged, relationships decayed and the spiral toward cancellation proved unrecoverable. Almost always, it didn’t have to happen – and it shouldn’t have. Almost always there were multiple warning signals that were missed or, worse, ignored. Almost always, the discipline of executing the formal process became less urgent. Almost always the client came to believe that our competitors were more energized about taking the contract away from us than we were about deserving to keep it. Almost always it became easier to say goodbye than to continue to live with the status quo.
Do you agree that we can learn more from our failures than from our successes? Do you worry that we may not know enough about our failures to learn the lessons we need to?
John & Steve