Uganda Telecom no longer provides merely data links but a full suite of communication solutions that enable customers meet their propositions to their end customers. To do this effectively, we must spend time in longer sales cycles to conduct detailed requirements’ determination with several members of the buying organisation staff, including end users in some instances. We can no longer have meetings with IT or Head of Operations; and hope that their views, however technical or well meaning, are reflective of the larger business. It is a more holistic process; we have incorporated a project scoping workshop in our large engagements that is truly cross functional both from the customer as well as our own delivery organization.
What this process does for our customers is ensure that we understand the role our services play in architecting a memorable experience for the end customer. Our focus in the project sessions is to shift from the size of the link to the quality of experience that the eventual end customer gets. It even goes beyond the buying organisation to meeting and exceeding end user needs.
We have moved from being a technology provider to a business partner contributing to the the customer’s “bottom line”. To quote, Diane Schueneman, Global head of Merrill Lynch’s infrastructure and operations, in an interview with Mckinsey Quarterly, “I try to remember that we’re not a technology company; we’re a financial-services company that supplies solutions to our customers around their financial needs—simple as that. Customers don’t say, “You do a really great job creating an equity product.” They ask, “How well do you deliver it to me?” and “Does it meet my needs?” So the whole reason to combine technology and operations rests on the customer’s needs. And to deliver against those needs requires the best operational processes and the best technology”
We could not agree more. Our challenge today is how to make “customers run our business”. We are reminded that high performance companies like to “let customers run their business. That means they begin with a clear picture of the customers targeted, and then cultivate an intense awareness of how each customer feels about everything the company does. The magic question is: Why should the customer buy from me? – culled from “How to manage a turnaround” by Goodman.
In our case, we have the frontline task of providing the information that will help answer that question from our various engagements with our customers. And to do this effectively, we must be effective in the preparation, engagement and management of the account relationship.
The successful launch of Ecobank, United Bank for Africa (UBA), Kenya Commercial Bank (KCB), Global Trust Bank, and Finca Uganda is a key testament of our work. Also, the rapid expansion of existing commercial Banks like Barclays, Stanbic, Orient Bank and Standard Chartered Bank has also been enabled not only by the depth and breadth of technology infrastructure but also the capability of our people to achieve stringent service level management processes that are backed by rebates.
In the words of Jeff Bezos, CEO and Chairman of the board of Amazon.com, “We see our customers as invited guests to a party, and we are the hosts. It’s our job every day to make every important aspect of the customer experience a little bit better”