Staying on the Customer’s Radar

Customers and prospects are fallible people: they have a big project that is just right for you, they’re already doing business with you, but for some reason you’re not included in the RFP (Request for Proposal).  One answer to this conundrum is to find a good reason for being on the customer’s radar every three months or so.

I once ran a widget refurbishment service: this allowed the BRM (Business Relationship Manager) to visit the customer with the integrity report for the refurbished items.  This gave them several opportunities:

  1. Some widgets might be undoubtedly unserviceable: replacements would be needed.
  2. Some widgets might be deteriorating: spares planning could be discussed.
  3. A new process stream might be planned: a whole new set of widgets might be needed.

While a few replacements or spare parts might cover the cost of the BRM visit, the new process stream was the big catch.  An order for 125 new widgets, a housing, plus spares would be significant.  My recollection is that the Italian team, led by Antonio Toller based in Milan, were particularly good at this approach.

In the service industry, the adage “you’re only as good as your last contract” comes into play.  It’s also a factor that the service users may be at arm’s length from the decision maker.  Here the task is to let the decision maker know, at regular intervals, what a good service is being provided. Again, a BRM visit with hard statistics is useful:

  1. The number and nature of support tickets and service requests.
  2. Scores on feedback, as mentioned in the Service Desk ISO 10002 article, particularly following through on ‘not satisfied’ responses.
  3. Meta-data and Key Performance Indicators (KPIs).

A key action for the BRM in both scenarios, selling physical widgets or a service, is to measure the probability of the  decision maker’s desire to retain the contract, plus recommending to a peer. On a scale of 0-10, the bottom ⅔ (0-6) count as a ‘detractor’; the next ⅙ (7 & 8) count as passive; the last ⅙ (9 & 10) count as a ‘promoter’.  This “bottom ⅔ as a detractor” may seem harsh but it’s what the folks at  Satmetrix Systems have determined as a reliable indicator of what they call a “Net Promoter Score®”, NPS.  They also have a nice ebook for free download.


Actions that follow on are:

  1. Determine the NPS for the company: compare this to the average for the market at the Satmetrix web site
  2. Determine a balanced score card value for each customer.
  3. Create an action plan to improve each customer’s score and hence the company’s NPS.
  4. Track these over time.


The benefits that accrue from staying on the customer’s radar like this are daily bread, some cake and the occasional banquet.

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