q Keil Hubert: a customer in need? It's time to bring out the cavalry - Business Reporter

Keil Hubert: a customer in need? It’s time to bring out the cavalry

Many companies advertise themselves as being “agile”, but few understand what that actually entails. It doesn’t mean spending millions of pounds on fancy social networking products. It means pre-emptively responding to your customers’ problems as they arise, with whoever is closest to the problem.

I learned about agility from my days in the army.

In the cavalry we thundered across the countryside, reacting to new threats every time we rounded a hill.

In my little ambulance, we kept our eyes open and our ears glued to the radio.

Every time we noticed someone who might need rescuing, we broke off and self-deployed to render aid.

As quick as possible, we were back in column and moving fast to the next objective.

Now that is agility: a small team with a unique skill-set that self-deploys to trouble spots in the nick of time, the moment they’re needed.

Modern business is no different.

In the 2000s, we thought it was awesome that enterprise-grade IT equipment could self-report errors and trigger automatic delivery of replacement parts.

Now, with 4G broadband, every co-worker and customer is online 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

With  location-based services, we can discover customers and teammates near us everywhere we go.

With status flagging, we can see when an ally or a customer needs immediate help.

We’re all tied in, all of the time – on or off duty. When our people need us, we have the ability to know it.

When we act immediately on that knowledge, we inspire tremendous trust and confidence in our brand, our product and in our team.

That’s what we want: whenever and wherever our customers need help, we need to respond at flank speed.

Our customers must see that we care deeply about their success, and are paying close attention to their needs.

Instead of making a frustrated customer dial a service desk to listen to hold music while they wait in a queue, businesses should have the closest company representative pre-emptively contact the aggravated customer as soon as a flag goes up.

The representative doesn’t have to be an expert in the problem – they just need to triage the issue to get the right assets mustered as quickly as possible.

They need to demonstrate empathy, genuine interest and commitment to serve.

You don’t need to wait on augmented reality technologies such as the Google Glass project. You can do this now.

Turn on location services on your smartphone.

Browse your social networking service.

When you see a key teammate or customer is nearby, drop in and ask how you can help. When you see a customer ask for help, call them immediately.

The environment of today’s business is chaotic and confusing. Agility means dealing with any and every problem that appears in the fog.

Don’t wait on “proper channels” to respond to a problem – if you can see the problem, then own the problem until reinforcements arrive.

Keil Hubert

Keil Hubert

POC is Keil Hubert, keil.hubert@gmail.com Follow him on Twitter at @keilhubert. You can buy his books on IT leadership, IT interviewing, horrible bosses and understanding workplace culture at the Amazon Kindle Store. Keil Hubert is the head of Security Training and Awareness for OCC, the world’s largest equity derivatives clearing organization, headquartered in Chicago, Illinois. Prior to joining OCC, Keil has been a U.S. Army medical IT officer, a U.S.A.F. Cyberspace Operations officer, a small businessman, an author, and several different variations of commercial sector IT consultant. Keil deconstructed a cybersecurity breach in his presentation at TEISS 2014, and has served as Business Reporter’s resident U.S. ‘blogger since 2012. His books on applied leadership, business culture, and talent management are available on Amazon.com. Keil is based out of Dallas, Texas.

© Business Reporter 2021

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