Customer Experience Essentials for Former Government Contractors
by Kate Nasser | 5 Comments »
From Government Contractor to Customer Experience Champ
For professionals shifting from government to the for profit world, understanding essential differences in customer experience philosophies determines success.
This awareness is critical for employees embarking on a career shift, for consulting/contracting firms moving to profit driven customer engagements, and for contractors who want to be very attractive to firms working in both sectors.
If you are in this situation, it’s time for another take on success with these customer experience essentials.
Customer Experience – Take II
Government’s primary focus is responsibly using tax payer dollars and proving that they responsibly did so! Although tax payers disagree on what is responsible use, government agencies’ structure and focus on rules and procedures is an attempt to prevent misuse of funds. Structure is their mission road map. It is their sense of security. You map to that when you work in or with government agencies.
Now, move your lens to what customers want and trust to succeed in the profit driven business world.
- Hit the Target. Customers don’t care about structure. Documenting and proving how you hit the target is of little value except in cases of their customer safety. They care primarily about results. It’s all about hitting the target with any (legal) means possible. Influencing others and advocating for them is essential.
Winning thoughts and behaviors: Initiative, ingenuity, influence.
Encourage and develop them!
- Personalize. Neutral standard approaches (which work in government) miss the target completely in the business world. Customers are spending their own money. Whether it’s a business or a consumer, their trust in you is based on whether you map directly to them! It is based on whether you bond at a personal level.
Winning skills: People-skills, listening, connection, adaptability.
Invest and train them!
- Own it. Since structure is not important to customers, your ownership of their challenges is critical. Your teams must see one goal not individual objectives that they work on separately. Silos kill customer experience and your success in the business world.
Winning actions: Collaboration, cross teamwork, commitment, follow-through.
Remove obstacles and coach them!
- Make it easy, memorable, and fun. Lower their stress as you deliver success and you hit the jackpot. Customers revel in ease and remember it as caring. Can you think of a single customer who wants complications and unnecessary pain?
The human spirit seeks pleasure. Deliver that as you hit the target and they come back to spend more money. They are not mandated as in government to take the lowest cost bid. They decide how and where to spend their money.
Their desire drives their decisions. What decisions will you make?
Winning steps: See the big picture, prevent the fears, simplify the journey, make them happy.
- Be Urgent. Customers want success now. The sooner the better without sacrificing quality. There are many other companies who want them as customers. Showing urgency (not desperation) tells them how much you care about their success and your desire to be their first choice.
Dragging your heels, quoting procedure, acting too busy to meet their needs gives other firms the competitive edge with customers.
Winning attitude: Passionate drive to serve with no excuses.
Success with others is based on trust which is based on what they care about. Government and profit driven companies care about very different things.
Change your thinking and you change the outcome to the delight of customers — and to your success.
I have worked with thousands in both government and the business world. The breadth of this experience has taught me much about how to go from one to the other. Let me make your journey easy, successful and fun. Call or email me for a quick effective start and success with customers.
From my professional experience to your success,
Kate Nasser, The People-Skills Coach™
These related customer experience posts will be of value to you as well.
©2012 Kate Nasser, CAS, Inc. Somerville, NJ. If you want to re-post or republish this post, please email email@example.com. Thank you for respecting intellectual capital.
Kate Nasser, The People-Skills Coach™, delivers coaching, consulting, training, and keynotes on leading change, employee engagement, teamwork, and delivering the ultimate customer service. She turns interaction obstacles into interpersonal success. See this site for workshop outlines, keynote footage, and customer results. 908.595.1515 USA.
Nice topic to write about Kate.
These are really two different cultures with different customers need! Moving from one culture to another is difficult but not with your advices 🙂
The reputation of the typical government worker is one of paycheck versus value focused. Sometimes it’s tough to break that reputation, but some are trying. Check out the Seattle Customer Bill of Rights. (http://www.seattle.gov/customerservice/billofrights.htm) Their focus is on their tax payers. Great start to breaking that old reputation!
Government is doing some wonderful things in customer experience Shep — I agree. Interestingly enough, even people in government who do well there find it a great shift to the for-profit world. The underlying mindset is quite different.
Thanks for the link. I love examples of great service!
Kate, Great points on making the transition from government to for-profit organizations. Many of the same ideas can apply in moving from a large corporation to a smaller one. It is vital to focus more on the customer experience than the structure.
On the government front, there may be some things that for-profit organizations can learn from the legislative side. Here, it is all about constituent (customer) service. It is about listening completely, answering questions quickly and honestly, and building relationships for the long term. There is something very humbling and valuable about standing in the middle of 50-60 constituents and listening to their concerns and being transparent in responding to them. Wouldn’t it be interesting for some in customer support teams to do the same with a group of customers? It definitely opens up the conversation!
Great post and thoughts. Keep challenging us!
Nice addition Jon. I remember when I left Johnson & Johnson to start my own business, my VP offered me some advice about working with different size companies. Although I ended up working with many major corporations, I never forget his message.
Thank you for expanding the discussion.
Regards and thanks,