Late in 2017 I told our senior leadership team that I wanted to make our partners part of our customer success programme. As with everything “Verne Global” the support was unwavering and I was asked to outline what that might look like for 2018. Having just drawn up my goals for this year its far easier to describe exactly how that’s going to happen...
When you run a business you know that you are responsible for the customer experience from end-to-end. Some things you can control but the rest you need to influence but ultimately be accountable for. And that’s where a successful partnership begins.
I have already started talking to our network carrier partners and my first question is always one of alignment. My aim is to identify any sources of conflict, looking at any differences in the way in which performance is measured and rewarded, differences in the values or culture of the service partner, differences in expectations or the view of what is important.
I also ask what are we like as a customer to them and what changes could we make to allow them to help us more easily? Now you could argue that this is the tail wagging the dog but as I mentioned before our success comes through common goals. I always think of this process as pulling a rope not pushing it. When the partner can see that you’re listening and that you have their interest at heart you can have far better conversations about how they might change to fit our practices too. Its amazing how often assumptions are made and processes built around that idea of how things are.
With all our customers we speak regularly to make sure that as time passes we are still relevant to their needs and the same goes for partners. I have committed to providing regular feedback on the relationship in terms of service but also pricing so that they get every chance to be competitive in any new bid or renewal processes. We have confidentiality agreements but we can certainly share decision points and that way keep everyone engaged for the future.
Once a partnership develops like this I have found that businesses can tell you why they have created SLAs and what internal factors influence them, how to get the best from their organisation, and with joined up thinking there are opportunities to promote each other to new markets and grow the business together. Simplistic? I would say that the best success stories you know of are where two sides get together and share a common goal.
Along that theme I was delighted to be aligned with our partners Origo and Opin Kerfi this week and look forward to working alongside these excellent Icelandic companies who assist us on managed services, marketing and business development. A good example of our partner approach was evident at the recent HPC & Big Data summit in London where Verne Global and Opin Kerfi (expertly coordinated by our Opin Kerfi colleague Anastasia Alexandrivna) had a coordinated approach to targeting the UK HPC community. We're really looking forward to partnering with Anastasia and Opin Kerfi again at the massive ISC18 HPC conference in Frankfurt in June.
That is a recent and future example of how two organisations - two partners - can work together for mutual success and the wider teamwork that goes on behind the scenes, often unnoticed, that underpins that. Next time you watch a motorsport race on television just take an extra minute to admire the pit crew. The car and driver are the ones who take the glory but you will always see the entire team enjoying the victory.