By Jason du Preez, Senior Vice President Asia Pacific, SugarCRM
Business has always come down to individuals who are able to work together to collaborate, make deals and deliver success on both sides of the interaction. But the war for talent and the accelerating great resignation means people are moving jobs more frequently than ever before. As a result, those incredibly valuable contacts made between your business and the customers and partners you work with are being broken.
The challenge is that the departure of one individual can throw the whole relationship in chaos. To reduce impact and risk, businesses need to think about their relationships more holistically and not rely on one specific contact. Given the volatility of today’s employment market, how can businesses widen the relationship to include multiple key points of contact and, when a key person departs, quickly establish a new genuine connection fast with their replacement?
Technologists understand the concept of a ‘single point of failure’ – the idea that the failure of one thing can have far broader effects. The same goes for business relationships. When you work with a new customer or partner, it is important to establish multiple contact points. That means regularly communicating with everyone from the procurement department to senior leaders, to the accounting team as well your day-to-day liaison. It is important to build relationships with groups of key contacts in customer organisations to rescue the risk of the relationship collapsing when one person moves on.
The loss of personnel is not just an issue if key people leave your customers and partners. What if an important contact leaves your organisation? How will you ensure continuity of service and support the relationship? With potentially fewer people on staff and the ongoing war for talent during this period of record low unemployment, organisations need to lean more on automation to handle mundane processes and free up the available human resources they have to provide exceptional customer experience.
Automation can support people on tasks such as report preparation, ensuring new service can be deployed through orchestration and setting up regular meetings. The key is to use tools that support automation. And if those applications and services use low code or no code tools you won’t be relying on increasingly scarce and costly technical resources. The time saved from working on repeatable tasks can be invested in building broader and stronger relationships.
Look for opportunities to use teams to look after customers and partners. While individual connections and relationships are important, ensuring the continuity of a partnership needs to be forged through multiple points of contact. While a salesperson might make the initial contact, the ongoing success of a business relationship relies on many different people to guide things from implementation through to operations and ongoing support.
Ensure that your broader team makes contact with their counterparts. This will ensure the relationship with your customer or partner doesn’t depend on one person.
It is also important to invest in a centralised platform where historical records of interactions with customers is easily accessible and data shared with partners/customers is readily available for the team to access in a central location so there isn’t a knowledge gap left when a key contact leaves the organisation. Leveraging AI can make research on new contacts and key contacts within an organisation much faster and automatic, ensuring your team is always kept up-to-date on customer accounts.
With the increased volatility of the employment market, it is critical to build relationships with customers and partners that won’t break down if a single contact is severed. Think strategically about your relationships and avoid having a single point of failure.