Growing Revenue and Profits by
Creating Very Satisfied Customers Through Partnering
Emilio De Lia, Vice President AT&T Corporate
Results: 9% loss became 20%
growth in revenue and
35% increase in profits in just six months
AT&T Corporate NCS services all of the computers and LANs used by AT&T
divisions. Every one of the Corporate NCS customers has the right to go
outside, self-maintain, or use its services. Competition is ever
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Emilio De Lia, the newly appointed vice president of this division
was facing a critical problem. Because the hardware was becoming more reliable, the demand for services in this area was
becoming less. The result was a loss in business somewhere in the magnitude of 9%
per year even though the sum of the satisfied and very satisfied
95%. Emilio's goal was to turn the business around so that it would
become a growth business.
In April of 1994 using SSA's method of researching clients, Emilio
discovered the client who was very satisfied was only in 3% jeopardy of
going elsewhere. This research further showed that if the client slipped
into the just "satisfied" category, the jeopardy of losing him
increased ten times to 32%. Creating a customer satisfaction rating of both
the satisfied and very satisfied customers was a big mistake.
Emilio's new strategy to grow was to move as many customers as
possible into the very satisfied category and then offer them additional
services. He wanted to sub-stitute a new mode for doing business, a new
paradigm that would help him and his people created Very Satisfied
Customers faster, surer, and in a more cost-effective manner.
The Old Paradigm
The old paradigm is to listen closely to hear the customer's needs,
bend over backward to meet those needs, and then hope that the customer
is very satisfied.
The New Paradigm
In the new paradigm, he would get the customer to work with himself
and his people to make themselves very satisfied. He wanted the customer
to help him optimize his impact on their business success so that he
could offer them services of the greatest value.
Two questions were puzzling him. First, how to get the customer willing, even
excited, about accepting part of the responsibility for making himself very satisfied. Could it be done?
Second, could a
large number of customer service and sales people be taught to do this?
Emilio found the answer to both questions in a unique form of
partnering taught by SSA. The Successful Partnering Process™ taught his
people how to partner with the customer so the customer accepted part of
the responsibility for making himself very satisfied. It also guided his
people to optimize their impact on the client's business and career
Emilio's strategy was to use this unique form of partnering - the
new paradigm - to make all his clients very satisfied, and then offer
them additional services in the area of systems support and application.
During the remainder of 1994 Emilio used the SSA Successful
Partnering™ program to teach all of his customer service
people this unique partnering process. In order to get substantial
buy-in from his management, the zone managers (the line supervisors)
were trained to teach the customer service reps how to make a Very
Satisfied Customer Partnering Agreement.
6 Month Results
Emilio's strategy began to show significant results early in 1995.
Greg Quinn, a customer service engineer supervisor who had a significant
number of partnering agreements with both his internal and external
customers, found that by working with his management, he was able to
bring the first large
breakthrough in the form of a $750,000 additional service contract.
By the end of the first six months, it was obvious that Emilio's
strategy was producing superior results. Emilio and his people had
turned their business around. Revenues were up 20% and profits were up
Conference Board Invitation
The Conference Board was so impressed by the turnaround at AT&T
Corporate NCS that they invited Vice President De Lia to a Chicago
conference on December 13, 1995 to share his results and the process
that helped him create those results.
11 Month Results
After explaining what he did and how he did it, Emilio shared his 11-
month results with the group. They were:
- Revenues increased to 26%.
- Profits up 35%.
- Customer satisfaction (satisfied plus very satisfied) stable at 95%.
- Much more critical, the very satisfied customers jumped from 57% to 77%.
- Employee perception regarding dedication and focus on the customer up to
an unprecedented 85%.
- New business up 600%.