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Your Clients Don’t Want to Retrain You



This post was written as part of the IBM for Midsize Business program, which provides midsize businesses with the tools, expertise and solutions they need to become engines of a smarter planet.


Over time, selling to and working with your clients, you gather a lot of information. You gather insights about how to create value for your clients, their individual preferences, and their unique needs. All of this information is useful in serving your clients and executing on the solution that you sold.

It’s inevitable that there will be changes in the team that serves your clients. These changes can be disruptive to both you and your clients. When you have changes to your team, you can lose some of the situational knowledge that helps you serve your client. Losing this information can be mean service interruptions, missed commitments, and it can mean mistakes.

It’s frustrating to your clients to have to provide the same information over and over again. They don’t want to retrain your team.

Retraining You and Your Team

Most of us in sales could do a better job of capturing the information we acquire in a format that we can share with our team. When we do capture the information and share it, we often transfer that information through the conversations we have with our teams, instead of providing a more permanent record.

Not providing the information in a format that can be retrieved and referred to later by your team makes for a poor handoff. By making a poor handoff, we set up the conditions that cause us to lose the information that allows us to help a new team member serve that client.

Sometimes the information we lose causes problems in execution early. More often, the failures occur later, after you have been serving your client for some time. When you lose a member of your team or they are moved into another position, the lack of a retrievable source of all of the information on how to serve your client means that the information left with the employee.

Now your client must provide the information again. Your client then has to retrain you and your team in how best to serve them.

Capture Information and Preferences

There is some situational knowledge that is going to be lost when you lose a key member of the team that serves your client. But the capturing of critical information about your client’s needs, their preferences, and their issues over time can make it much easier to bring a new team member up to speed. It makes it much less likely that the situational knowledge is lost. It also makes it less likely that a new employee will make mistakes.

Instead of requiring your client to retrain you and your team by providing information and preferences over and over again, you are better off to capture the information once, and in a format that allows you to quickly bring a new employee up to speed. This is impressive to your clients, and it’s worth a little extra effort.

There isn’t a good argument against capturing all of the information about your relationships with your clients in an electronic format that makes it easy to retrieve and share with your team. It takes time to capture the information, but that investment of time helps to prevent mistakes later, when the information would help someone else serve your client. It’s also an investment that prevents your client from having to invest the time to retrain the new person serving them and their account.

Questions

Why are your clients frustrated when they lose a member of their service team?

In what format do you handoff information to your team?

How do you ensure your handoff builds your team’s ability to execute for your client over the long term?

What format allows you to quickly bring a new team member up to speed quickly?


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