Dec 18

Institutionalizing a formal Voice of Internal Stakeholders Program

In my previous post; I touched upon how the voice of internal stakeholders is a lead indicator for “here and now” issues could lead to customer dissatisfaction and why it is important for firms take quick decisive actions before customers become disillusioned.

In this post, we discuss a real life case study on how voice of internal stakeholders can be leveraged effectively to drive customer-centricity & improvement initiatives.

About the Client

A leading IT MNC firm in the product software & allied services space with key customers across the globe in both advanced and emerging markets.

Problem Statement

The firm has flat scores in the annual customer satisfaction survey for past 3 years and with 5 months away from the next annual Customer Satisfaction (CSAT) survey, the business leadership wanted immediate clarity on 2 sets of issues

  • Fix on-ground issues which need to be fixed on priority from a tactical perspective (3-6 months)
  • Identify long term initiatives which need to be rectified from a strategic perspective (12-36 months)

Pre-Implementation Pain Points

Some issues which persisted in the minds of business leadership were:-

Are we solving the right problems?

Although the customer feedback gave pointers to the organization on problem areas; there was a clear need to understand from the account managers (sales and delivery) on the reasons leading to dissatisfaction so that the “right” problems could be solved.

Is there a formal forum for internal stakeholders (sales & delivery) to share their true opinions?

Although the account managers have a vocal view on problems which they face on a daily basis and ideas on organization support needed, there was no formal forum within the organization to put across their point of views to the senior leadership on wide gamut of issues.

Can account teams plan for initiatives beyond fire-fighting operational issues?

Even in quarterly review meetings, the focus tends to remain understandably on financial performance & fire-fighting escalations rather than looking at the long term view

The Methodology

For the Top 80 strategic customer accounts, An Account Level diagnostic to all the key stakeholders (sales and delivery) i.e. a series of yes or no questions on gamut of issues on product, process, service delivery, relationship connects and value add delivered in their respective accounts. There were also some open ended questions to qualify the responses.

The emphasis of the diagnostic was on “actual events” and desired behaviors on a factual basis rather than perception based queries on the health of a customer engagements which every true-blue sales representatives will always claim is thicker than blood (on a lighter note)

Post Implementation Outcomes

Insights & Recommendations

Based on the analysis of quantitative and qualitative questions gathered from the sales & delivery leadership of the identified 80 key accounts; recommendations were drawn up at three levels:-

  • Account Level
  • Geography / Region Level
  • At the overall organizational Level

Post analysis, the accounts were classified as “High Risk”, “Medium Risk” and “Low Risk” from the perspective of expected customer disposition towards the firm.

Actions Taken

This allowed account teams to actionize faster on identified focus areas, there was greater acceptance of the next steps as the feedback was from the key decision makers themselves. The tactical actions were communicated back to the customer immediately and regular status updates provided before the next CSAT survey.

The Changes that followed

The firm now runs the voice of internal stakeholder program each year between 2 cycles of the annual Customer Satisfaction Survey and this serves a dip-stick on potential customer issues and areas which need to be fixed from an organizational perspective.

Running the account diagnostic along with focus on improvement plans has now helped the firm achieve the highest Customer Feedback Scores in the last 5 years.

Most importantly the firm is now able to leverage the internal stakeholders opinions to drive customer centricity by providing a formal forum to voice their opinions objectively which acts as an “Early Warning” signal for senior management to identify and address unhappy customer concerns in a proactive manner.

Ganesh Jayaraman

Ganesh leads our Advisory practice and is based out of Bangalore. Over his 13 years of experience in the industry, He has delivered 70+ engagements in Consulting, Service Delivery Transformation, Key Account Management and Customer Service Improvement. He brings in a mix of problem definition, leading workshops and delivering successful programs.

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