The better you become at connecting between customer needs and people in your organization who can help, the more valuable you’ll become - to both your organization and your customer. And it’s not just about being able to make these connections, but also about how quickly you can make them.
Think about how often you are approached by your customer on topics beyond your domain. Do you know who can help them if you can’t?
The better you become at connecting between customer needs and people in your organization who can help, the more valuable you’ll become - to both your organization and your customer. And it’s not just about being able to make these connections, but also about how quickly you can make them. For instance, how quickly you can get back to your customer with an answer to a question, a solution to a new business challenge, or a hotfix for a production issue that just came up which are not in your area of expertise.
So, how can you become better at “connecting the dots”?
1. Get to know what people bring to the table
Be curious about the people you work with - their professional backgrounds, but also their softer skills and personal traits - all can prove valuable! On the professional front, do you know what their academic background is, what they are in charge of today, or what they did in previous roles? And don't stop there. In terms of softer skills, do you know if they are team players, remain calm during crises or add value to any good brainstorm with out-of-the-box thinking? Personal traits can also prove of value. For instance, do you have any idea which languages they speak, or if they have unique hobbies or fascinating travel experiences?
Beyond the value all of this can bring to a customer engagement, you will also be able to uncover common circumstances or interests they might share with you, or maybe with your customer. It’s a great basis for collaboration between people!
2. Brand yourself
As you pursue getting to know your colleagues better, think what you want them to know about you. Take some time to identify the value you bring to the table in terms of professional expertise as well as personal qualities. Once you have, think how to communicate it. Always best to share real-life stories that demonstrate your capabilities, as opposed to mere facts - stories are much easier to remember. Highlight what makes you unique. People will then be more likely to remember you when they need someone with your specific set of skills. It’s also important to adapt your story based on the needs of the people you're speaking to, so they understand the value you can bring to them specifically.
3. Find more ways to collaborate
The more you collaborate with other teams in your organization, the better you get to know each other, giving you more “dots to connect”. Do you work closely with other teams serving your customer, or do you just convene on ad hoc basis? To work more closely, you can put in place recurring cross-functional meetings to discuss customer needs or invite other teams to brainstorm for a solution to a problem you might have in common. You can also establish a process for sharing important customer insights which others can benefit from, or a holistic improvement plan for addressing customer feedback, which all teams are exposed to and feed into.
By working in close collaboration, you can speak to your customer in one voice. Your customer needs to know they can depend on you as a team – irrespective of the need at hand and who they go to with it.
“Great things in business are never done by one person. They're done by a team of people,” is a famous saying on teamwork by Steve Jobs. Are you ready to get to know your team better? Think what you’ll be able to achieve by working together!