As Head of Advanced Service Delivery at Tata Communications, customers come to me with their challenges and questions every single day. To this day, I remain passionate in exploring new and better ways to address everything that comes across my desk as I did on my first day 20 years ago.
One of the most common questions I’m asked by customers is, “how do I adopt new technology to keep my business ahead of the curve?” Over the past few years, as the cloud has emerged as the most powerful force in enterprise IT, this question is increasingly being driven by the need on the part of these customers to integrate the cloud into existing networks and data centres.
After years and years of outsourcing, a lot of customers are slowly losing the knowledge of how their networks really work. However, at the same time, they are being tasked with doing more with their networks than ever before, such as adding BYOD into the mix, enabling unified communication applications like video conferencing or integrating IoT technology. All the while, they must also provide a seamless end-user experience.
When customers come to us, their number one concern is flawless execution. The impact of flawed execution is significant waste. This year, The Project Management Institute estimated that for every $1bn invested, $122M is wasted due to poor project performance. Today, there is simply no room or appetite for error. Our customers are facing increasing demands from within their businesses and we have to be there to help them deliver on these expectations.
Today, businesses don’t need a telecommunications supplier but rather a partner and a pragmatist. Yes, we need to manage our customers’ expectations (the pragmatist), but we also need to give them a solution, bringing our knowledge to the party (the partner). This might mean offering extra resource to help or sharing our expert skill. At the core, this is the difference between a supplier and a partner.
Flawless execution can be easily derided as impossible or unrealistic, but in my view it’s about doing lots of little things right, continuously. In particular, this means making sure our network upgrades don’t impact customers and that we are proactively looking at their network capacity and flagging issues on an ongoing basis. At the end of the day, customers have an expectation that there will be no problems and we are here to make sure that happens.
So this is why I am championing the ’whatever it takes’ philosophy within the Tata Communications Services team. We are 4,000 people spread across the globe. We are lucky to have a team of people who naturally want to do the right things for customers, but it’s also about going beyond this. We are creating a culture across all service functions around the globe that makes a difference to every customer we work with.
Let me give you an example.
If a customer has an un-managed network and calls us to say they have a problem, we might check our links are fine and then tell them to speak to their other providers.
This isn’t flawless execution.
‘Whatever it takes’ says we will troubleshoot and help pinpoint the problem. It’s about behaving like a start-up not a dinosaur. It’s about always putting the customer first.
If businesses are asking the industry to help fill their intelligence gap and execute change and transformation flawlessly, then we need to make sure we are holding up our end of the bargain by working with them, both as a partner and a pragmatist.
4,000 people doing lots of little ’whatever it takes’ equals consistency which equals a trusted partnership.
Other industries do this well. Just look at Singapore Airlines. It delivers good, profitable and consistent service over the long term.
Within our industry, it’s time we took responsibility to create a great experience for all our customers by doing ‘whatever it takes’.
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