Building strong relationships and competitive advantage through the support experience can be a powerful ingredient in earning and maintaining customer loyalty. But judging from the quality of support provided, many companies have not achieved this. Instead, the customer experience is at best mediocre and at worst leads to lost customers and negative "word of mouth" to potential new customers.
This outcome often results from outsourcing customer support to low-cost suppliers around the world and managing those suppliers as vendors of commodity services who are continually pressed for cost reduction.
Having the right focus on both customer experience and shareholder results requires a very different approach, built upon a sourcing strategy that recognizes the varying needs and value of individual customers. Successful implementation of the strategy requires building strong working relationships with the appropriate outsource suppliers who are aligned with the values and mindset of your own business.
This article explores these six essential steps for a sourcing strategy that contributes to enhanced customer relationships and satisfied shareholders:
- Segment the customer base by value and expectations for support
- Segment types of support provided by potential impact on competitive advantage
- Determine the appropriate supplier profile and geographic location for type of support
- Evaluate and select suppliers, both outsourced and "insourced"
- Establish the right framework for managing supplier relationships
- Manage the relationships as partnerships
Customers — The Alpha and the Omega
Support Types and the Impact on Customer Relationship
Defining the Right Supplier Profile
Supplier Evaluation and Selection
Establishing the Framework for Supplier Relationship Management
Managing the Relationship as "One Global Team"
About the Authors: Robert Berger
The Results Group firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com www.resultsgroup.com