Delighting the customer: How a great idea becomes a vehicle for delivering value
Delighting the Customer is a common buzzword, understood at Tiempo as helping our customers achieve their business objectives. Many businesses claim that this is their practice, but it is worthwhile to take a close look at what it practically means. Research in service-oriented businesses has found that customers clearly appreciate efforts to “delight” them, but there is no strong correlation between this concept and customer loyalty, or repeat business. At Tiempo, we go beyond the tried and true. We extend the notion of Delighting the Customer into a productive, rewarding engagement with positive repercussions for both of the companies involved. In today’s blog post, we discuss what it takes to bring this about.
Delighting the Customer is one of Tiempo Development’s six core values. Every month, we explore one of these values with some intensity. This means we conduct a deep-dive into Delighting the Customer twice a year, and also practice it each time we interact with, or perform work for, any of our customers. Within the Tiempo organization, we also maintain the value vis-à-vis our stakeholders—colleagues, managers, executives—and similarly maintain a high level of accountability while looking to expectations.
What does Delighting the Customer practically mean in our nearshore software development? Our most successful collaborations have a number of elements in common.
○ Delivering value above and beyond. Within and occasionally under budget, on time and often early, we deliver world-class, robust software that indeed meets and exceeds our customers’ business requirements in an efficient, innovative manner that makes best use of technology tools and trends. We also take the initiative to look ahead and anticipate how customers’ businesses are likely to evolve, and we design their solutions with the scalability and robustness that go beyond the needs of the moment. Our business and technical expertise positions us to help customers perform more effective software planning and pursue their strategy with greater resource-efficiency.
○ Establishing trust. At the start of an engagement, customers usually try us out and give us an opportunity to demonstrate our competence. They ask us to create software functionality to meet a clearly defined need in a short-term pilot or proof-of-concept project, sometimes referred to in our industry as a minimum valuable product or MVP. When they see that, by using our expertise and the delivery structure of the Tiempo Quality System, we deliver on our commitment, quickly learn all we can about their business, and are efficient and easy to work with, they can justify trusting our nearshore approach and investing in it. Once we have established that trust, customers tend to eliminate any inefficient overlaps and redundancies between Tiempo and their internal team or processes.
○Deepening the involvement. As we continue to develop software solutions or entire business management platforms, Tiempo team members gain more and more ownership of the functionality we develop along with a profound understanding of the customer’s business model, challenges, and opportunities. At that point we often can, for example, forestall needless complexities before they impact our customer’s operations. Or, we may be able to refine our development practices so we can become better and faster through the life of the engagement. Often, enthusiastic Tiempo team members will proactively learn and research more effective uses of innovative programming tools or draw on the latest findings in usability studies and interface design, bringing fresh ideas into our development.
○ Building relationships. Open communications foster collaborative relationships. Typically, we have very brief, daily meetings to establish priorities and discuss any issues. Ad-hoc conversations happen outside of that. Our software engineers and software engineering leads are always within close reach. For our customer partners, this requires making themselves available and establishing a productive rhythm with Tiempo. There is a demonstrable pay-off in the velocity with which we can deliver and the quality of the software we develop. The stakeholders on the customer side and at Tiempo are always aware of the pulse of an engagement, and can quickly implement changes of direction or adjust the composition of the team. When extra effort is required to reach a milestone as customer needs change, or when additional requirements take us out of the scope we defined together, it is much easier to negotiate and make adjustments than if communications are infrequent or strained.
○ Practicing empathy. We understand how our work impacts the people in customer organizations—not just the CIOs and IT teams, but also those who use the software Tiempo develops, as well as customers’ business partners and clients. Conversely, customers remember that all the development and program management efforts are performed by people. As the collaboration proceeds, the customer and Tiempo teams join in a community of their own. The increased awareness of the individual strengths and styles of the people involved can make a big difference in the effectiveness of an engagement.
We know that our approach to Delighting the Customer delivers the value businesses look for, especially for those customers who work with us in long-term engagements and use us more and more strategically. If this resonates with you and you might want to explore what nearshore development by Tiempo could mean for you, please send me a note at firstname.lastname@example.org, or connect with Tiempo Development at email@example.com.