The 21st century business landscape is one of constant change. And within this new setting we see the need for businesses to continually reinvent themselves to meet the demands of any given market. Whether it be finding new product or service differentiation, the continuous streamlining of business processes, or changing pricing strategies, businesses need to stay on top of their markets more than ever. This landscape also lends great opportunity to those organizations who maintain a commitment to the fundamental “why” behind any business; that is, to add value to the customer!
Behind adding value there lies an intangible intention, and this fundamental fact can be easy to forget as we revamp services and products and look internally to optimize our businesses. But when this year passes and we look toward the next, the only true benchmark of success is found in how we have aided in the success of those we have served and their willingness to work with us again or recommend our offerings to others. Well, at least that’s how we see it here at SDG.
Like most organizations, SDG has had to do some reinventing of ourselves since the dawn of the 2000’s. From my perspective, one of the most powerful realignments we have made is the act of articulating and fully committing to our core values as our guiding compass. By “committed” I am referring to consciously using our 3 values in daily conversations, our daily actions, and as the foundation for decision making at every level.
These core values fall in the following order and it is the first that is most relevant to today’s topic:
1. Superior Customer Service
2. Exceptional Employee Experience
3. Responsible Corporate Citizenship
What does superior customer service mean?
Well, from my first year’s observation, it seems to mean many small daily choices throughout an organization:
• Flexible consultants who take pride in becoming part of the customers culture and business practices. Adding value through being genuinely concerned for the people they serve as well as through their technical skills and contributions.
• Occasionally taking on not-so-fun work to support a customer as a committed partner.
• Being technology agnostic and refraining from bringing our technology to a conversation before we even understand what a customer’s true problem/opportunity is.
• A commitment to challenging assumptions. Customer focus doesn’t mean being “yes” people, and a commitment to asking hard questions often helps us bring customers to solutions that truly align with their needs.
• Disqualifying potential opportunities – it is exciting to find a potential new opportunity for our people to help realize, but sometimes it takes great courage to walk away from projects that we don’t have the appropriate skill set for or projects that involve a customer wanting a solution that we believe will not benefit them.
• Consistently using respectful language when we speak of our customers when they are not around.
• Adjusting our standard business process to meet unique needs.
This list could be a blog in and of itself, but I hope this paints the picture!
I am grateful to work for an organization who realizes this fundamental truth, and at the dawn of my first year anniversary at SDG, I wanted to highlight some of the unique ways I have observed our commitment to what Mahan Khalsa coins “Helping Clients Succeed“. It’s funny, many organizations spend a lot of time and money to intentionally become media-darlings and focus on obtaining the PR accolades that is “supposed” to recognize solid businesses. At SDG, the 7 years as a Best Places to Work and our 5 consecutive years of Fast 50 recognition for our rapid growth are simply a byproduct of our core values.
SDG certainly has technologists that harbor their individual “niche” expertise, and this can be convenient in supporting our customers as specific technology needs present themselves. However, as an organization, I see our “niche” being a unified commitment to helping our customers use technology to solve business problems; to helping customers succeed.
Cheers to years of mutual success ahead!