Regardless if an Outsourced Service Provider is an Executive Search Firm, an Architect or a Surgeon, there is one thing that they each MUST do.
The Outsourced Service Provider must be singularly focused upon fulfilling their customer’s needs.
Customer needs cannot be acted upon before they have been fully identified and formally validated by the customer. The process of identifying customer needs is frequently lengthy and time consuming. Customer needs may be complex and difficult for even the customer to clearly articulate. Fully understanding a customer’s needs is an art. Needs identification is best performed by an experienced practitioner who is successful at investigating and strategically probing the customer in order to discover complete attributes of the requirement. Examples of such probing questions, that are tactfully followed be secondary or clarifying questions, include;
• Why does the need for the service exist?
• What are the specific requirements that will be deliver upon?
• Why are these requirements necessary?
• In what environment or professional culture will the delivered service exist?
• What are the constraints in providing the requested service? i.e.) cost, timing of delivery, location of the delivery, etc.
• What attributes that MUST be present in the delivered solution?
By following the above exercise, as well as coming to agreement with the timing and price for providing the requested service, the need can be fully developed and delivered upon. This exercise assures the customer that their service is being provided by an experienced industry professional who fully understands and will deliver upon a tangible need that has been entirely developed and understood. The above exercise will also provide assurance that the service provider will not just “mail it in” and blindly provide a service in order to collect a pay check or to force their solution upon a partially or undiagnosed need.
The service provider needs to make the customer comfortable in the understanding that they are there to fully understand and deliver upon the customer’s needs. Needs can only be delivered upon once they are fully developed and understood.
Ernie Russom is the Executive Director of the Executive Search and Staffing Firm The Westview Associates. The Westview Associates fulfills Accounting, Finance and Administrative Support staffing needs within the Greater Philadelphia Area. Ernie can be contacted at erussom@thewestviewassociates.