How to be partner-focused during disruption—and after

March 30, 2020

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In a crisis, like the global coronavirus pandemic, it is critical that customers are reassured that they are a valued partner, not just an account. Having a partner-focused mindset is the key to building enduring customer relationships that support your business during disruption—and after.

Client-centric tactics help your organization align with new realities

During disruption, clients need to know that your organization has the commitment and the agility to pivot to align with new realities. They need to know every effort is being made to ensure the continuity of your product or service.

There are a number of initiatives you can take to improve your relationship with your customers and limit the impact of adverse factors affecting the marketplace.

Customer-focused initiatives identify problems and implement solutions

Identifying problems for your clients is important, but implementing solutions adds value. Undertake solutions-oriented initiatives—and become a valued partner to your customers in times of disruption and in times of stability.

Communications

  • Create communication plans—both internal and external—to establish new protocols to be used during the critical transition period.
  • Establish bilateral communication to enable immediate access on critical operational issues.
  • Share account-based performance metrics with partner (customer) organizations.

Account-based performance dashboards

  • Develop account-based performance dashboards that collect current information on critical performance measures.
  • Develop a cascading governance structure through which information is shared to identify pain points and bottlenecks within critical processes.
  • Ensure information is shared with all relevant stakeholders in an accurate and timely manner in order to highlight and solve important issues.

Account-team autonomy

  • Create a single point-of-contact for all account teams.
  • Redesign the roles and responsibilities of customer-facing account personnel to empower them to quickly and efficiently address problems.
  • Ensure that account personnel are responsible for identifying and ‘ticketing’ problems.
  • Provide training to account-team personnel on role and responsibility changes.

Joint (account and corporate) process-improvement teams

  • Develop a continuous-improvement capability.
  • Establish a joint process-improvement team with key accounts.
  • Conduct operational reviews to identify pain points and operational bottlenecks.
  • Prioritize improvement initiatives, and develop implementation plans and schedules.

Segmented account-based credit terms

  • Establish credit terms and limits based on account-stratification (good, better, best) accounts.
  • Establish a cascading triage process for accounts that run into credit trouble.
  • Establish third-party financing solutions (as appropriate).

How BDO can help

BDO Consulting has a variety of solutions designed to assist our clients to focus on their customers:

  • Internal and external communication strategies, processes, and programs
  • Business-process improvement
  • Account-management performance dashboards
  • Account-management governance, policies, and procedures
  • Business-continuity planning
  • Accounts-receivable management
  • Collaboration implementation (employing tools like SharePoint, Microsoft Teams, Skype for Business, Zoom, WebEx, etc.)

To learn more about how we can help you implement partner-focused initiatives as you adapt and respond to the COVID-19 crisis, contact Greg Lloyd, National Leader, BDO Consulting―Growth & Acquisition.

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