A Coronavirus Kick to the Balls!
I hope everyone is safe/well during the pandemic! My team and I have been working around the clock with several clients as a result of COVID19. While most clients have been appreciative/supportive of our efforts, there is one that has me questioning our actions.
We went into the pandemic with the following assumptions/positions:
(1) Doing nothing is not an option, so let’s get after it!
(2) Making good decisions (those that work out) will have many “fathers” as all will seek credit
(3) The bad decisions made should be corrected quickly, but know that these will be “orphans” as fatherhood will drop solely in our laps
This one client has an insane political-climate, with what seems multiple-factions in position around every cubicle corner. Leadership is aloof, and downstream team members therefore are also aloof. Our production (work effort) typically receives scrutiny from all parties, so we’re fairly use to having a big “bullseye” on our backs as we operate. Over the years, we’ve worked hard to increase collaboration and trust with this client, and I thought our relationship was operating at a high level. However, this past week we polled the client to identify a few future-direction support routes (i.e., How we can best serve in the coming weeks). The survey was poorly responded to (Less than 18%) and one of the junior associates completed the survey in such a negative response that it was a real kick to the balls for me and the team. From this one survey respondent, it appears as though our work is of poor quality, not supportive during these difficult times, and not wanted/desired. Again, a real kick in the balls!
I could use some perspective from the EFOnline Community on how we could approach/engage for future success. Thank you in advance for your valuable input.
I'd be interested to know the general nature of your work. Do you have an executive contact that you can personally reach out to? Is there validity to the complaints? How does your business impact the client, and specifically the junior associate?
These types of issues have a strange way of letting you dig-in and build a better relationship because the client knows you were there for them. These types of client challenges can actually be fun if you make the goal of winning the client over. I'm not sure if your work allows an individualized approach, but this may also be an upsell opportunity to offer them a bespoke support model to meet their needs.
Whatever you do, keep doing the great work you are doing for your other clients.
Thank you for the reply… I appreciate the perspective. I’ll answer your questions so as to help shape future responses, but know that we made the determination that we were going to “lean-in” on this 7-figure engagement as a show of ‘good will’ during the pandemic (Think of it this way: The pandemic caused Statement of Work- SOW - fulfillment to go right out the window!) We’re looking at these ‘business unusual’ times as ones where we can provide/show/prove that we are indeed a ‘Strategic Partner’ (Not a ‘Vendor’ if that makes sense, but the one you’re going to call as a top of mind provider). Here are my responses to your questions:
(1) Do you have an executive contact that you can personally reach out to? Senior leadership just transitioned (Truth be told, the low tide of the pandemic probably caused their departure). We have great mid-level leadership support and even with transition have maintained good senior-level support for our initiative.
(2) Is there validity to the complaints? Sure, if every feedback loop is considered a ‘gift’ then I guess we could look at this as valid. Also, the client has multiple skills in play, so there really is no ‘one size fits all’ solution that would be applicable during this time period (nor was there before the pandemic).
(3) How does your business impact the client, and specifically the junior associate? In a nutshell, we help drive the sales/revenue process and operational efficiency therein. If the adage ‘Nothing happens until you sell something’ holds true now more than ever, we have a tremendous impact on the client. However, the representative that gave the feedback might not want to recognize this as he may view us in direct competition to his own efforts.
Hope that helps and thank you again for the perspective!
You are taking the same approach I hope I would take with a strategic client. t looks like the team was able to detach from the criticism and found a broader opportunity to dig into the root cause. What coaching are you providing to the team interfacing with the client? Are they engaged and excited to overcome the challenge?