All's well that ends well
Judy Williams dramatises the role of the independent consultant. Like all good acting these days, it's all about the method.
Biz A A commissioning company
Biz B A major client
Indie X An independent consultant
An imminent key client review sets alarm bells ringing throughout the commissioning company, Biz A. It engenders similar feelings to those aroused in the staffroom by an impending school inspection.
Top management in Biz A take a bold decision to find out how the company is perceived by a major client, Biz B. They commission an independent researcher, Indie X, to conduct in-depth interviews with their contacts at all levels in Biz B.
Biz A executives know they risk obtaining feedback that could be at odds with that obtained from their own regular interaction with Biz B. The middle management in Biz A – those in day-to day contact with the client – feel vulnerable.
Act I: Doubt sets in
In which Biz A wonders about the following in a series of dramatic monologues:
* Have we ever thoroughly analysed our relationship with Biz B?
* How much do we value it?
* Where does it rank amongst our other main customers?
* Have we presumed on their loyalty?
* Do we have the right people in touch with them at every level?
* How much does Indie X understand about our business, our customers and our relationships?
Act II: The deed is done
In which the independent consultant Indie X is introduced. The dramatic arc involves the following:
* ensure that they are thoroughly briefed by Biz A
* set clear objectives together with Biz A
* meet personnel in Biz A at all levels
* familiarise themselves with major issues of the industry/profession
* build up a picture of Biz A's approach to clients in general and to Biz B in particular
* find out about Biz A's client data collection and usage
* undertake in-depth interviews with various personnel in Biz B.
Interval and refreshments
Updates and exchanges between Indie X and Biz A.
Act III: Denouement
In which Indie X proves their worth by tying up all the loose ends. The character manages to:
* gain the confidence of top management in Biz A, by personal involvement throughout the project
* gain the ear of Biz B as an impartial contact
* provide an objective analysis of the data collected
* help Biz A to interpret and use the results to best effect
* offer strategic business recommendations to Biz A
Not only do Biz A's client relations become more organised and effective, but its business improves, too. Indie X is recalled to provide regular updates on client perceptions of Biz A.
May | 2004