Well it’s here….ServiceVantage’s 10th anniversary! Well, actually it was the last week of January, which means we are a little late getting the last in our Top 10 blog series out the door. For the record, doing a “Top 10” list each week for 10 weeks has been a very ambitious project – hence the reason why it took us 12 weeks to do.
For our final Top 10 list in our series, we will focus on the Top 10 business Challenges that ServiceVantage has addressed (and continues to address) for our clients over the past 10 years. Yes this blog post may be seen as a shameless plug for ServiceVantage, and to some extent it is, but hey, we’ve been around for 10 years and helped more than 30 technology firms so perhaps we deserve to.
However, that being said, all companies will experience business challenges to varying degrees at various times in their evolution – what will set them apart is their willingness to admit those challenges and proactively address them.
Here are the top 10 Business Challenges that ServiceVantage helps you address:
1. No Systematic, Scalable Approach to Client Engagement
Across your organization, how consistently do you proactively engage your clients and ensure that they can interact with your organization in a way that positively impacts their business? Do you have great visibility into client retention and revenue protection? Can you leverage existing clients to close more deals?
2. Poor Client Adoption and Usage
It is absolutely critical, for all technology firms that their clients experience strong adoption and ongoing usage of their solutions. Do you understand how to improve adoption and usage? Is your client approach hurting or hindering this effort?
The math here is simple: low adoption + low usage = churn.
3. Little or No Actionable Client Intelligence
Too many organizations track only the basic information and are not able to identify patterns that have a significant influence on the overall client experience.
Organizations must be measuring and cross-referencing highly relevant and important client data to ensure the organization as a whole is making sound business decisions. When your organization is empowered with good client intelligence, it will absolutely give you knowledge needed to cement existing relationships, secure renewals and protect your revenue.
What level and depth of client intelligence do you have?
4. Difficulty Expanding Revenue within Client Base
Whether it is software modules or service offerings, you need to augment your business value to existing clients. They initially purchased your service/software to solve a specific business need. Are you meeting those initial needs and are you leveraging that success to expand your value (read: revenue) within?
5. Little or No Client Driven Referrals
This should be an obvious, but many companies do not go far enough in leveraging their clients for referrals. Yes logos on a website and case studies are good but they are very passive in their effectiveness. Do you have clients that would happily take a call from a prospect, or even better, refer you to a peer from another organization who would also benefit from your solution? Understand, per client, what type of reference they are willing to be, and leverage it – but don’t take it for granted either. You need to continue to earn their reference.
6. Poor Client Retention
This is a basic one. Is the revenue that is leaving your company make you feel like you are on a treadmill? The “fly-wheel” effect (the point when business starts to accelerate) only occurs when clients stay with you for years. Is your company doing all it can to stem defections?
7. Do You Hold Your Breath, Cross Your Fingers and Pray the Renewal Arrives?
It continues to amaze us when see companies who are surprised when a client does not renew or even when they do renew. There are a number of factors that a client is going to consider and assess when they are making the decision to renew. Many of those you can either influence or control. Do you influence and control all renewal and retention factors?
8. No Dedicated Executive Leadership
Do you have your client engagement groups reporting to an Executive of Sales, Operations or Development? All companies get to a point where the bare minimum or the status quo begins to be a liability to their longevity and health. Sometimes having access to strong executive experience, on a temporary basis can help companies get over key hurdles without prematurely expanding the executive head count.
9. Great People, Lack of Experience and Learning Curve that is Too Long.
Many companies have leadership (Director or Executive) who show great promise, are making excellent contributions and overall are “keepers”. However companies can find themselves in a situation where issues that require experienced executives to solve are coming in faster than their executives can gain experience. Invest in your leadership stars, and give them access to a mentor/coach that they can use as an experience sounding board to accelerate their professional growth. Are you helping them?
10. Client-Focused Culture?
The points above are clearly all contributors to a client-focused culture; however it does merit stating on its own: many companies need help to truly engrain a cross-departmental, client-focused culture within their organization. Getting everyone on-board and contributing to this will take strategic planning, collaboration and dedication. How client-focused is your culture?
So take a hard look at your organization. If any of these Top 10 items sound familiar, you owe it to your organization, not to mention shareholders, to improve. Hopefully you will think of us. We would welcome the opportunity.