by Fred Najafi
iVision has a set of eight Client Engagement Values (CEVs). These are the core principles behind how we operate and how we service our clients. This blog series will highlight stories from our employees on how they interpret and embody these CEVs, whether in their career at iVision or in their personal lives.
I seek to earn clients for life, every day.
Last month, iVision employees joined together for our annual Tech Summit. Throughout the day, our CEO, Gabe Damiani, intentionally took us through the Customer Success Map to point out the different ways in which each of us is empowered and accountable to earn clients for life. Seeking client for life is a foundation that is built by practicing the remaining seven CEVs. It requires hard work, a pattern of consistency, and is built over time. Robert Eckert, CEO of Mattel, has been known to repeatedly tell his team “As you go to work, your top responsibility should be to build trust.”
Components for Customer Success
There are two vital components to earning clients for life: competence and character. Competence describes your knowledge and skills, your track records and results. These can be easily measured and are, generally, less subjective.
Character, however, is a much less tangible and difficult to define quality; it describes your intent, your motive, your integrity, or your ethical values. Another very important dimension to character is motive. Motive is the reason for doing something and the “why” that motivates the “what.” At iVision, we desire a partnership with our clients (the why), to engineer the future today (the what).
Ethics and motives are critical parts of character and, thus, to earning clients for life but, by themselves, they are insufficient; they need knowledge, skills, and thoughtful solutions to back them up. Character and competence are logically bonded and work as one to build trust with clients. To demonstrate the relationship between character and competence, let’s look at another of iVision’s CEVs: “I recognize that service (competence) without heart (character) is arrogance.” The two are dependent on each other to create a strong and lasting partnership with clients.
I frequently describe this concept of earning clients for life or being a trusted partner like sharing a bank account: in the company, everyone – from sales and solution architects to service delivery and support – share ownership of this bank account and directly or indirectly, make deposits or withdrawals. No single person is responsible for the health of this account, so it’s up to each of us to realign our competence and character and keep making those deposits.
At the 2018 Tech Summit, we also discussed emerging technologies and specific areas that we needed to focus on to help our clients achieve their business goals. However, just like competency and character, technology alone cannot be the only focus. Relying solely on technology would make our business transactional in nature and would be counter to our company’s goals. Heart, passion, attitude, and professional behavior combined with your technical skills and your proven track record of success will set us up on the right path to customer success and ultimately becoming a trusted partner.