If this were school, 95% would be great. (In fact, if you fall into the 95th percentile for many things, it would be considered a great success.) However, when 95% means that 5% of the work isn’t done (or isn’t done well), then you are in a whole different situation. And it isn’t a good one.
The last 5% is so important in our industry. When little portions of integrated systems don’t work correctly, they can completely muck up the user experience. If the touch panel is missing a button, controlling a room suddenly becomes impossible. If one wire is out of place, the routing may not work correctly or the audio may not match the video. These are very small details, but they are important – even though 95% (or even 99%) of a job is done right, it’s finishing the job that will make the system work the way the customer expects.
New Thinking on Customer Experience
Our customer experiences are no longer just shaped by how we compare to our peers. Today, customer experience is shaped by every single business interaction we have. I refer to this as “P2P” or “Person-to-Person” selling. We aren’t just B2B or B2C buyers; rather, we are consumers in life and business. It is because of this that we shape our views of what equates to a good customer experience.
As integrators, we need to think a little bit differently about how we treat the customer experience. Do we spend enough time thinking about it? What can we do better to make sure that we deliver at a level that exceeds customer expectations and keeps customers coming back for more?
In a world where customers seek responses to their complaints in 30 minutes, and complaints can be publicized on social media and websites with little thought or discern for legitimacy, it is more important than ever that we think about how important customer experience is.
Stepping Up Your Project Management
I’ve consistently seen integrators struggle with project management. As projects grow, many integrators see this as an area of need – but not one to invest in. Many integrators I have spoken to use sales staff or former installers as project managers. In some cases this, will work out. In many cases, this isn’t a role to just plug someone in to. Given that the PM is the person making sure sales, service, installation, and customer experience meet expectations, this person is not only necessary, but critical to your operation.
Integrators must step up their game in project management. Ninety-five percent isn’t good enough. We need to have professionals who understand the phases of the project. From involvement in the sales process to the hand-off to installation (and, of course, the eventual turnover to the client), project management must be a well-oiled machine that keeps the integrator and the client working toward a mutual goal.
We continue to hear about how the integration industry is moving toward service. This is true, and it’s not only a byproduct of new types of technology, but also a byproduct of new market expectations for customer experience.
Integrators that treat the experience right by focusing on project management will separate themselves from the integrators that let the project delivery take a back seat to sales. –Daniel Newman, BroadSuite Consulting