I can’t be precise about when but I do know that there was a time and the deep dark past where I probably didn’t like change too much. I always felt content with the way things were.
But I can tell you right here and now that I’m a real change catalyst, and if things are not changing fast enough, I put my shoulder to the door to push harder, and then I look hard for new things.
I think it’s fair to say that some changes, can perhaps be somewhat of a deflection or distraction, but pragmatically I tend to ride the wave. Other stuff I’m definitely responsible or partly so, for making the change.
(edit) My good friend Dave Brown commented on Twitter that “If it ain’t broke, then fix it before it is”
There’s some new stuff coming just over the other side so watch out – more information, and VERY SOON
We’ve all got our opinions and we all feel that we’re sometimes experts in fields that we might appear to know little about. However, we are all customers of someone. That probably places us as expert customers?
So why is it we’re increasingly seeing declining customer service satisfaction, and increasing numbers of customer complaints?
Is it because we have more opportunity to be more vocal and by publicly complaining via social channels. And given that they are emotional experiences, often it moves other people to join in and stoke the fires with their own similar hideous experiences?
It’s all about expectation.
We are rapidly accelerating into a society of immediate gratification, reducing our levels of patience, such that even microwaves appear slow these days.
Pair this up with businesses constantly looking to do more with less, and it’s a ticking time bomb.
This need not be the case, with a higher degree of awareness within the servicing company, in understanding exactly what the customer experience is for their customers. Additionally, we’re an increasingly digital population and many businesses still struggle on their journey to a blend of digital and analogue services.
So what is the answer?
You might be surprised to hear me say that this is not necessarily about technology! However, it’s more to do with how the technology is brought into play and in what scenarios. But ultimately it’s about the people and process and creating much more personalised experiences for your customers.
I’m here to help, so let me know if this resonates and I can help you and drop me a line ⬇️
I recently came across some photos and as is often the way, it sparked a bit of retrospection. Thinking back to the experiences I was afforded in a role I held previously when I was employed at global telecoms vendor Avaya – and there were many. These experiences were for the most part shared with the folks working in our channel partners and most of whom I have personally known for more than 30 years. This is going to shock the reader because I know what you’re thinking – you simply do not look old enough Graham! 😉
Anyhoo, back to my reminiscing. The photos that I came across were from a trip we had to the Kruger National Park, followed by a few days in Mozambique. I am going to share these on Linkydink and Twitter for my good companions and friends to join me in the (hopefully fond) retrospection. So no people tags here, but if you are reading and reminiscing too – enjoy
I am naturally open and have a leaning towards trust as a default, until of course I’m bitten or receive some other signal that I’m being used.
I have been reading a lot of books and other content about this broader topic, but not as a central theme. The themes were much more about ideas and sharing and how magical things can happen. The topic of trust and its impact doesn’t seem to figure highly, but I do wonder whether this can limit collaboration if there’s an unsaid trust question somewhere in the “group”
Is the elephant in the room?
Can ideas truly flow unencumbered, if there are (unsaid) issues within a group, whereby the trust question is not addressed?
Will all group members really bring their collaboration and sharing “A” game I wonder?
Does it matter if some are open in spite of this?
Personally, I’d postulate that it’s not optimal if you’re not all equally invested and some are holding back. So is the answer that all parties sign some kind of NDA? Does this work in practice, or is an NDA now so default in business discussions, that they’re all too easily signed and filed without real attention and commitment?
All these questions bubble to the surface often for me, as the topic has huge significance to the work that I undertake. So all of this relies on a high degree of trust.
Making progress (and quickly) is rather tricky without it
Very recently (well about 7 weeks ago to be more precise), we participated in the annual Channel Live expo, held at the NEC in Birmingham.
We have exhibited there a few times with our partners and had some decent engagement, and this time was no exception. In fact, I would chalk this one down as one of the most successful, in terms of actual potential partnership opportunities for our current vendor partner Inovo Telecom.
AI and Automation
My business partner and I had been asked to participate this year, as presenters for a couple of the theatre topics – “AI and Automation”; and “Creating Sticky Customers”.
Despite it being quite some time since presenting to an audience like this, I was really excited and as a result hugely enjoyed my session, which is a topic I have a particular passion for anyway (thankfully)
Both sessions can be viewed below or via our Youtube channel (QR code connects)
If you think this through, it does make absolute sense doesn’t it?
It’s a bit like a multi lane motorway which in theory gives 3 times the road space, and greater capacity for traffic. If there’s a hold up and 2 lanes are closed then huge queues are the result. As the lanes reopen, then traffic stats to flow again.
In a customer contact centre where there are just calls, then there will invariably be call queues due to the maths – 20 agents handling 20 calls and 40 people calling equals waiting and queues – how long the wait will depend upon call times of course. When you add more (#Digital) channels then queues are relieved, as those 40 people waiting might chose a different channel, making a shorter wait time for the remaining callers. When the digital channels provide automation too, then customers opting for self service can achieve a satisfactory outcome without delays, not tying up an agent, and at a time that they choose. More free agents then mean more callers get served faster with less waiting.
What’s not to like?!
An intelligent mix of channels with human agents and digital agents and self service options equals a better human experience.
Agents are able to engage with fewer time pressures from lengthy queues, and callers requiring a more human touch, get shorter wait times.
Better customer experience (#cx) and satisfaction, and ultimately less customer churn.
When you’re adding #Digital channels and automation, there are some real gotchas if you’re not careful.
Careful planning and testing are important, as is not trying to do everything at once.
Ensuring that you bring all channels together for orchestrating the customer experience is vital, and absolutely avoid the need for any customer to have to repeat their reason for calling or their identification or verification. This means ensuring that your digital conversation (or voice automation) are persistent, with and channel swapping (by design) retaining context.
You’re in an organisation that is providing solutions to address a certain business problem, and you’re seeking opportunities to grow your customer base.
You’re thinking that maybe you’ll find some resellers, as that’s a lower cost than hiring a number of new salespeople. The resellers get to sell your offer and you’ll give them a share of the revenue, or sell to them at a “dealer” price for them to invoice their customer and add a margin.
Yet who should sell it and why aren’t folks beating down my door to sell my product?
Those that I’ve spoken to haven’t really engaged yet and haven’t heard anything back from them.
Some of them haven’t enough resources to add new products, services or take on new skills at the moment and others have none at all, so they are struggling to get started.
We have a few partners who have signed agreements but haven’t sold anything yet, and I’m not seeing any marketing activity from them.
How do I get this machine moving, as all I have managed to achieve is to divert my energy into trying to find partners and reduce my available time for what I was already doing…
This is not an unusual story, but actually, rather a common experience based on a lack of experience and knowledge. Businesses wanting to identify and develop a channel sales strategy, need to do so with eyes wide open and a good plan.
Often a business gets lured into thinking that hiring a sales partner is less costly than hiring additional sales heads, but this is simply not true. The cost model is merely different.
A sales channel definitely offers a greater opportunity to scale, and also potentially gives access to customers whom you might otherwise expend significant efforts to build a profile with, more easily. But do not think this is the cheapest way of growing sales. It simply is not.
How hard can it be?
There’s so much more to this than a vendor thinking that it’s worth giving it a try…. Because that simply will not end well. Why would a potential partner invest any of their time or effort if you’re not prepared to? If a channel partner gets the slightest whiff that you’re just “giving it a go”, you are toast and you will get nowhere. Do not expect a reseller to damage their hard-earned reputation by introducing your solution if they think you’re not here for the long term to support them, and their customers. It’s not going to happen.
Done well, the channel is beautifully symbiotic and it’s very much the way to scale your business
Need help getting figured out and getting started? Then get in touch with me and I will be able to set you on the right track – here or use the WhatsApp link below.
London, 16h February 2020 – Trust Business Partners today announced that it has expanded its strategic partnerships through a new agreement with INOVO, who provide the tech and ongoing optimisation to boost contact centre efficiency, productivity and CX.
Trust Business Partners will be the face of INOVO in UKI & Europe, representing the brand through sales and marketing activity, recruiting new channel partners, systems integrators and creating local European strategic alliances. Trust Business Partners has over 30 years’ experience in the UKI & European contact centre space working directly with customers and partner channels.
INOVO is a cloud contact centre solutions provider that focuses on delivering business results rather than just enablement. The company devotes a dedicated team of industry specialists to every customer account to drive continuous improvements in efficiency, productivity and CX. INOVO’s clients vary from 10 to a few thousand seats across several sectors such as: financial services, retail, telecoms, healthcare, BPO, hospitality and travel.
INOVO was established in 2006 after a group of experienced contact centre specialists joined forces to disrupt the contact centre market. By adopting a “partner” over “vendor” approach, the goal was to deliver business services that extended beyond just providing great technology, and really focused on understanding, and meeting a customer’s unique requirements.
“Our success has stemmed from our ability to identify specific business challenges and use cases and be innovative in how we help businesses solve them. We look at a business holistically – whether it’s the underlying processes or the tech – and work with our customers to continually drive improvements. We’re looking forward to working with Trust Business Partners to help deliver this kind of business value to contact centres in UKI and throughout Europe,” said Wynand Smit, CEO and founding partner of INOVO
“Customers today demand well-informed and intelligent business conversations around technology and processes to enhance their contact centre and customer experience. INOVO’s ability to enhance services while improving time to resolution and reducing costs will be very attractive for partner channels seeking to grow additional revenue streams and service customers better. We believe that with this partnership, customers and partners in UKI & Europe will be able to differentiate themselves significantly with INOVO’s unique offer.” said David Pitts, Founder Partner at Trust Business Partners
INOVO is a cloud contact centre solutions provider that focuses on delivering business results rather than just enablement. The company devotes a dedicated team of industry specialists to every customer account to drive continuous improvements in efficiency, productivity and CX. INOVO’s clients vary from 10 to a few thousand seats across several sectors such as: financial services, retail, telecoms, healthcare, BPO, hospitality and travel. For more information, visit https://www.inovo.co.za.
About Trust Business Partners
Trust Business Partners are a niche consultancy specialising in supporting IT/Voice/Software vendors and suppliers go to market strategy in the UKI & Europe. David Pitts and Graham Bunting’s (founding partners) experience of local markets is second to none having worked at partner, distributor and vendor level plus running their own successful businesses.
To grow your business, we’re committed to innovation, partnership, and a relentless focus on what’s next. Simplification, communication and localisation provide a clear advantage in any market. We’re the company you can trust to help you deliver Experiences that Matter to your channels and customers.
I’m not totally sure why we struggle with the notion of embracing coaching as a tool to develop top-quality performance outcomes from key business leaders and teams. It’s my belief that the role of coaching tends to fall to the line managers who generally speaking have little time for coaching and equally have not benefited from investment in personal development to enable them to become good or great coaches.
My assertion is borne out from personal experiences in both large and small businesses and teams with the emphasis on management over coaching. Too often the managers are wrapped up in the day to day management and they also become too close to the teams and lack objectivity.
The basic premise for coaching is that the coached party has all of the resources available themselves but need external reflection to unlock and enable.
Recent conversations with a current manager have added to my certainty on this issue and the necessity for external coaching to be a part of the support to the manager and the team, keeping the team dynamics intact and ensuring the building of togetherness and cohesion
Ideally your workspace at home should be a separate space to your living accommodation. It allows for separation, so you can, well, separate your work from your home set up.
There are many reasons this is a good idea, and we’ve all had time to reflect on this during the COVID pandemic haven’t we? For many this period of home working has been a blessing and a curse.
Having the opportunity to avoid lengthy commutes to the office in crowded trains etc, has been for many a huge relief, but this has been hard for those of us who do not have a dedicated workspace. A study, or converted spare room have been a boon, whereas setting up in the dining room, or on the kitchen counter has been sub optimal at best.
We’re seeing a surge in people investing in solutions like a garden offices, where the space is dedicated to work set ups, which can be left overnight as your commute up the garden path home gives you separation. The garden office can be permanently equipped just like your office is, and you can be equally undisturbed and undisturbing for the rest of the family.
Doing this successfully does require some fundamentals like furniture and technology, all fit for purpose.
Corporate bods are welcoming the enterprise of having ready-to-go solutions wrapped elegantly with business finance options that leverage tax breaks and government relief at the time it’s most needed. Employees get a fantastic, useful additional space at home that adds value to their property too.