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Well we gathered our Entrepreneurs in Residence from far and wide to make sure our members got what we had promised them for our Masterclass on Customer Engagement in Sheffield on Wednesday. It was at 7.30 for 08,00 at the Mercure Hotel.  

Martin Port came by train from his company’s exhibition stand at the NEC, Sir Anthony Ullmann stayed the night at the Mercure to make sure he was there on time and Mike Bridge left home at 6am (like me). It is remarkable what all these highly successful businessmen will do to help Yorkshire companies grow and create jobs and wealth in Yorkshire.

The Messages

Mike Bridge-You need to know what the customer really needs and the customer needs to know what you need to deliver it. Build a proposition around what the customer needs. Customer Engagement is all about your value proposition.

Anthony Ullmann-Seduction. Make the customer part of your business and you become part of his business doing so much for him that you seduce him with the quality and level of service-so price becomes less important.

Martin Port-you need to understand the pain a customer is suffering

Mike again-There isn’t a business in the world that buys on price. There is not a product in the world that is the best in the market, with the best service at the lowest price. Nobody buys poor service or poor quality. What do you do better than your competitors. Identify your best customers; they must be “absolutely delighted”

Anthony – Procurement people appear just to be measured on price but they are part of a team-and often the enemy of the rest of the team who want quality and service. You might lose the business on price but there’s a good chance it will come back when the winner fails to provide good quality and service

Members Questions

How can we distinguish ourselves from your Competitors

What is the one thing that you need that you can’t get from your current supplier. The key is a confident approach, a breadth of approach, what have we got that the target customer hasn’t got.

Balance between looking after existing and going after new customers

Good customers will deliver new customers for you. Try to extract more value out of your existing customers. Only go for new business if you have exhausted what you can get out of your existing ones. Remember the 80/20 rule-80% from existing 20% from new.

What is Good Service

You should have SLAs and a Red Flag report for any failure to meet the SLA requirements. You culture needs to be embedded throughout the organisation. You must set out what for your business is true service and then everyone must “get it” ie understand the vision, passion and absolute requirement to give excellent service.

Much service is lousy. Negotiated Failure (eg customer “accepting” its ok to be 2 days late) is still failure.