Today’s post is from Claire Richardson, director, the Workforce Institute at Kronos & vice president EMEA Professional Services, Kronos . Claire knows a lot about how to design and deliver effective global professional services that will exceed the expectations of her clients.
I love what I do. I love working for a global company that puts an emphasis on relationships and teamwork to get the job done. While we ensure we’re globally consistent, we also ensure we’re locally relevant when it comes to workforce management. As organizations continue to expand globally, we must consider how they will cohesively manage a workforce spanning cultures, countries, and regions. This notion also applies to how I and my team approach professional services.
In my world, I truly enjoy partnering with customers and working with my team to identify what works and what doesn’t. Throughout my tenure in the world of customer engagement and professional services, I’ve seen my fair share of best practices, failures and successes. With that, I’d like to share some tips I’ve learned along the way when it comes to partnering and helping develop global businesses:
- Perfect your regional expertise: It’s absolutely critical. Now, this doesn’t mean knowing the regional language – while that helps from a communication perspective, it’s not a must – it’s about knowing your local audience and catering to their specific needs. Possessing and clearly articulating industry expertise in the country, and willing to accept that while you have a process that works, it might need to be tweaked for each customer or region you’re servicing. Always keep in mind that what you know, can only serve as a guideline, and might need to be adapted to work in different cultures. Building trust from your customer through showing you understand their business. You’re not coming in and saying, “we do it this way in XYZ country, so you should do it this way.”
- Be proactive: The rule of thumb no matter what country you’re in, is to keep the proactivity moving forward all the time. Remaining visible and approachable to the customer, sharing ideas on what is happening next, providing updates, informing of issues ahead of time and addressing how they will be solved. It’s important for the customer to see your team move a project and their business forward on a consistent basis. While getting things done is important, it’s arguably more important you get things done right. A project might take longer than expected but if you have a strong partnership based on communication that’s appropriate for the culture, you’re set up for success.
- It’s not a one-size-fits-all thing: As mentioned, working with culturally different customers on a day-to-day basis means that you can’t come in and rule with an iron fist. Some aspects of processes or implementations don’t work for all. You have to align your strategy and communication with the customer that’s in front of you at that time. Find out what they’ve done before and improve on it. Ask for and consider their feedback. Be a strategic partner to them and they will do the same with you.