This year, this decade, we’re focused on elevating the partner experience and leveraging innovations with automation, intelligence and mobility to help improve both the employee and customer experience. TBI’s 2020 word of the year is EXPERIENCE.
Like any company, TBI has specific, yearly goals shared across the entire organization. There are five total and each department uses them as focus pillars. Plans have been created to reach goals as a company, but often, I find each business unit works independently to accomplish them. We selected experience as our word of the year to unify our efforts and encourage cross-departmental collaboration.
As a Master Agency it’s important to remember the key tenet to our work - make life easier for selling partners. We do this by removing burdens of administrative work or pre and post sales carrier follow up and of course, paying accurately and timely. But that’s table stakes. To continue being the best in the industry, we constantly need to push the envelope, provide more value, greater proficiencies and new ideas to help our partners grow, learn and sell more or sell new. We do this through programs, sub committees to innovate, improved operational efficiencies and training.
TBI’s HR and Marketing teams heard a lot about the employee experience last year. You don’t win best place to work from Crain’s Chicago Business and the Chicago Tribune without a first-class team and an awesome culture. It’s about more than free food (though, that helps)! The employee experience, from what I’ve read, goes deeper than just culture and engagement, it’s about everything an employee encounters, sees and feels while at an organization. And it’s what attracts and keeps qualified talent.
Why should channel partners care about employee experience? Because IT decisions affect employees and companies are becoming more conscious of that. I’ve seen it first-hand with our own head of HR, who’s often included in technology purchase decisions. HR holds a significant budget for new software and integration back to the CRM or ERP. Frequently, they work closely with heads of marketing for specific purchases that have multiple use cases or can be cross utilized. The employee experience can encompass training and technology adoption/usage. So, when a company purchases a UCaaS solution for instance, there needs to be an adequate rollout plan accompanied with training and follow-through from the vendor. The employee experience is known to increase without manual administrative tasks and paperwork, hence automation and investment in HR software. Also, employees care about sustainability, social consciousness and responsibility. The best way (from my experience) for a selling partner to connect with prospective companies is to get involved or request vendor funding for organizations or charities those employees care about.
Our channel future looks bright, but not easy. Selling partners have more in their portfolio than ever before. The pace of technical advancements makes it hard to keep up. Combine more channel-friendly solutions, new technology, antiquated ways to consume cloud and changing customer expectations and you have the perfect recipe for opportunity.
There is no better place to start selling that opportunity than by addressing customer expectations head on. It’s no longer enough to have great customer service, but to deliver a consistent, personalized and streamlined business. Employees need to have customer information at the ready, they need to be up to speed on training, they need less customer hand off and then the company needs to find a way to automate or make that same service, self-service. Meeting high customer expectations like social media support, personalization, action on feedback, proactive outreach, loyalty programs or rewards for business, leads to an enhanced customer experience.
When selling in the new decade keep the experience in mind. From network services and edge compute to communications -- mobility and contact centers, we’re working to listen, process and solve almost simultaneously. Throughout 2020, TBI will be reminding us we’re collectively working to elevate the experience for our clients: employees, partners and customers, alike.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
As VP of Marketing at TBI, Cohen is responsible for managing TBI’s marketing communications and implementing multi-channel branding and press strategies. In addition to driving TBI’s overall marketing strategy, Cohen directs both internal and external communications to ensure the delivery of valued products and programs to providers and partners alike. You can contact Corey at email@example.com or connect with her on LinkedIn.