Do you remember the popular Iodex advertisement? It gave a very simple but yet a meaningful message about pain relief. Today, we are at a stage where, to some extent, we find ourselves in Aha moment compared to Aah or Ouch moment that we had about 4 months ago when we started cleaning up mess in one of our customer assignment. To know more about our Aah to Aha journey, read our blogs since Nov 2011 till Feb 2012 on this.
We had a challenge to turn around the customer’s perception and to make them trust that we know the technology, roadmap and the solutions for which we were taking appropriate steps. There were difficulties in terms of junior/inefficiently trained team members, attrition, unavailability of skills, clueless middle management and most importantly, a frustrated set of team members who were constantly being asked to work over weekends, stretch to work on late evenings regularly to accommodate system/network latency, unsynchronized environments and uncontrolled processes of moving code from Development server to Production server. I can go on another 5 pages to list the issues that existed; however, I hope you got the context.
After taking the stock, we started getting into all areas to help our customer. The first and foremost thing was to get our skilled and trusted consultants and to showcase what best practices are. They were able to demonstrate the maturity in the technology while confidently answering the complex queries and providing proper solutions. We then started getting into meetings where middle management would never know the answers to the questions that their customer was posing. We were able to slowly win the confidence of our customer’s customer by demonstrating our commitment and willingness to provide most efficient solution. We were able to win their trust by synchronizing the environment which was failed attempts earlier.
You may be wondering what it is so different than what happens in other organizations. Well, as you know the customer facing people are usually the middle management or at times, a few technical folks who can explain better. Due to unavailability of such people for different (and all) initiatives/complex tasks, it was difficult for our customer to have one face to communicate with their customer. That is where we were able to help. We have been able to derive solution and plans/timelines/estimates for critical and important activities that were once considered to be shelved due to lack of confidence/resources. Today, we feel pleasure when we represent as our customer’s face to their customer in terms of all initiatives for this project. Our customer takes pride when they place us in front of their customer. We feel trusted. This also makes our consultants to work in more obliged and creative ways when they are showered with trust and confidence. There are instances where in our customer’s customer feels more comfortable when the recommendation/approach is explained/suggested by us.
While we have been successful in turning around the situation, there certainly remain other challenges. For instance, the people who helped immensely to achieve first major success seem to introduce hurdles. This is something interesting and surprising when you see helpful people tend to suddenly avoid helping. We had to take different routes until we nailed the problem and were able to get the situation under control by instituting small but frequent meetings including appropriate stakeholders. We were faced with other challenges which we dealt with maturity and were able to get going without escalating unnecessarily. However, we tend to accept the problems to educate ourselves more about the system/environment and at the same time explain the best practices to rest of the junior/unskilled team members. Our attitude/approach of looking at the problem to provide best possible solution acts as a rubbing balm to soothe (and mostly relieve) the pain and thus to help us move from Aah se Aha tak.