Coach for Success

Unique Challenges of Business-to-Business Service Providers: Part 3

A reliance on people to deliver - The consistency challenge.

The third challenge of business-to-business service providers we shall look at is the reliance on people to deliver your service, what I term the Consistency Challenge.

If you run a contract cleaning service, how do you deliver the quality you’ve promised? How do you ensure Bill or Jane turn up at the clients? If you run a car dealership, how do you ensure cars are correctly serviced/repaired and ready on time.

While many go by the maxim that their staff are their greatest asset, often the biggest single frustration for business owners are their employees. Staff can create many different challenges, but when they are negatively affecting the quality of your service and your reputation, action must be taken. Better still, how can these lapses be avoided in the first place?

There is clearly not sufficient space here to adequately address all the possible approaches and indeed many entire books have been written on this topic alone. But here are a small number of pointers for consideration:

  • Getting your recruitment right is clearly fundamental. Finding staff with not only the required skills, but, critically, the right attitude. Look at how you recruit and when mistakes have been made, be prepared to take quick action.
  • Don’t just think people (politeness and smiles), think systems. Systems for doing the job right first time and systems in place to deal with problems when things go wrong. The more operational variations you can eliminate, the better your service will be. How can you design in consistency to your service operation?
  • Client feedback. Make it easy for your customers to tell you what they think of your service, but don’t pester them. How will you find out if service is slipping, before it becomes a real issue?

We shall hopefully visit some of these specific areas in months to come.

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