Connecting the Dots

It’s no secret—in the current economic climate, people are expecting more for their money. Good service isn’t enough; let’s face it, great service isn’t enough. Consumers want to know how the services or products their vendors are providing contribute to their overarching plans and/or expectations. Think about it, when you were little and you were engaged in a “connect the dots” image, what was more fun? Connecting one dot to another or seeing the completed image you created when all dots were connected? A no brainer, right?

So, as service providers, it is our job to ensure that the clients understand how drawing one line from dot A to dot B isn’t an independent action, but one that contributes to the larger goal. In our line of work, that means making sure clients know the endgame for their technology and/or network for the year and how those technological landmarks coalesce with the business goals for the organization. It’s a more strategic way of looking at things—and it adds value for the client.

Plus, we aren’t the only ones doing this. One of my favorite places to shop, Jos. A. Banks, takes this approach. They have every customer fill out a questionnaire about their clothing needs, both personal and professional. They then set up a schedule to look at your wardrobe with a holistic perspective—what you need, when you need it, how it all works together so that you always have an inventory of clothing that works for your lifestyle. This isn’t only helpful; it is a great retention strategy. They have all my information-why would I go shop anywhere else?

It sounds easy, but a “connect the dots” approach to service takes planning and forethought to implement. It requires communication among various employees across departments. We are in the process of designing our system so that no action taken on behalf of a client happens in a vacuum. Optimal’s goal is that our body of work for a client, over a certain period of time, will tell a chronological story that results in a strategy being pushed forward, a project completed, new technology implemented, etc. A service story with a happy ending.

I want to hear from you! Respond to one, all or none of the questions below. I just want to hear your thoughts!

  • Do you think service providers offering this connecting the dots approach will fare better in this economy?
  • Do you have an example of an organization that does this especially well?
  • Do you have an example of an organization that does this poorly?