The road can be long and will wear on employees especially a young rookie employee. I now speak from experience, after returning from a 15-day odyssey with my boss. Now this wasn’t your conventional business trip. We started at our Annual Client Conference in Las Vegas, sharing a small but comfortable RV and paying visits to clients, before returning to our headquarters in Charlotte, NC.
I was thrilled to meet all of the clients that we did. Some I had met previously at our conference and others were brand new to me. It was great to visit their locations and see the differences in every business. It is easy to look at a spreadsheet or website and think you know your customers or at least know about them, but you will only truly get any idea of who they are by meeting with them face-to-face. The trip was a great learning experience for me, and I would like to share some of the things I learned.
What I Learned on the Road
Every business is different, with different styles, locations, people, and processes. All of these make every customer interaction more unique than I ever could have imagined. Which generate unique issues, some seemed to trend across companies but many are decidedly individual. This is great for us because after hearing and seeing these customers I get a better feel for how to best approach each issue.
I love feedback. I know Lynn does too, but I thought it would be difficult to get. I came to realize throughout the trip that our clients were more than willing to share, sometimes bluntly, their issues and I appreciate it. By giving us feedback, we can make our system better and more in line with their needs. This is where these visits showed their value.
One thing was abundantly clear: Culture dictates company attitude. Company culture was something discussed at our conference, so I ended up looking for it at every stop we made. Culture is a broad ranging term that is difficult to pin down, but I believe it starts with core values. Are the core values of your company consistent with current strategic objectives? I saw conflicts at some places and at others I saw amazing clarity and a desire for positive change. This showed when dealing with their customers. They had incorporated the core values of the company into the practices of their customer service. This allowed them to grow and change and provide amazing customer service while remaining true to the established goals. Culture starts and ends with core values and to establish positive culture your core values must reflect your goals and everyone in your company must know them, believe in them, and promote these values.
I feel like I learned more than I can write. These lessons are helping to set the standard for myself and how I need to approach every situation.
Once again I would like to thank everyone who attended the 2013 ServiceConnect Client Conference in Las Vegas, and I would especially like to thank all the clients who met with us and gave us such great feedback.