Service is the Bedrock for Business Performance

September 1, 2011

In today’s economy, the importance of client service is the bedrock for a sustainable business – and quite possibly paramount for survival. We know the best performers in virtually all industries are actually doing more to step up service during these challenging times. With recent announcement (and actions) on the PORTIA Service Centre you have witnessed the changes PORTIA has made to place service and its clients at the centre of our business. So how have we begun to do this?

In this blog I thought I’d share a few observations on the core ideas that are driving our direction.

The problem with major changes is that most people (including me) tend to over complicate things by thinking that all of the elements of the initiative need to be done right now – they don’t – and the first thing is to agree to keep things simple. One way to keep things simple and on track is to continually reflect on what the change is all about. It’s like taking a step back and taking a few deep breaths as you put everything into perspective.

Having been a PORTIA client myself, I always try to put myself in our clients’ shoes and at the risk of oversimplifying things ask myself what are the three things clients want from PORTIA? I think these are…

1. I want you to know what you’re doing

2. I want you to be efficient while you’re doing it

3. I want you to be easy to deal with

And that’s it – this is the essence of the service we are striving to deliver here at PORTIA. When you peel back all the complicated technology, process and other stuff that confuses the issue, these are the things that clients have told us that they want.

If you drill in a little deeper into the clients’ perspective, you have also given us crystal-clear direction on how to do this…

Know What You’re Doing – I expect you to do the job right. I expect that you’ve had the proper training and that you can accurately answer my questions (or find someone who can). I expect you to do what you said you would do.

Be Efficient – My time is valuable. I shouldn’t have to put up with processes that are designed for your convenience at the expense of mine. Equally, when I note something is critical, it probably means that I can’t do my job without your assistance. I understand that things don’t always go as planned, but I want to see a sense of urgency and ownership – especially if something has gone wrong and I need your help.

Be Easy to Deal With – I have already given you my firms’ business and our precious funds, so please act like you appreciate it.  I feel much better when I deal with someone who clearly enjoys his or her job and seems happy to help clients tackle their challenges.  Also, make it easy for me to do business on my terms, in the manner that I want to and most importantly when I want to.  You can introduce portals, chat-session, online communities – but remember make it easy to use.

I recognize that this view of service is stripped down to the essence, and it’s meant to be. We want all of our clients to understand our approach and equally importantly we have made sure that all of our staff understand and can describe this vision in their own words.

As I have mentioned before in other communications, change is not easy – we know this is a difficult yet rewarding transition – but we believe our continued focus, energy and investment will pay off for our clients in the long term.

So we want to hear from you – is this easy to understand? Do these key goals make sense? Are these the key service characteristics you’d expect from PORTIA? Let us know your thoughts and comments. In the meantime we’ll continue to keep you updated on our thoughts, our progress and our plans.

 – Joe Morant, Vice President, Global Client Services – PORTIA

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