Magazine Article | July 2, 2018

Ask The Board: Client Success

Source: Channel Executive Magazine

Q | To what degree do you accept responsibility for your clients’ success (not just their success in the deployment of the solutions you sell to them, but their success as a business in general)?

A | AT DIRECT SOURCE, our role is to advise long-term retail clients of the latest industry trends and how technology can help them meet or exceed their business expectations.

Often, a retailer may already be investigating a new process and the technology they think they may need to bring the concept to reality. But they bring us in because we’re able to broaden and improve upon their concept based on our expertise and past experience. For example, we may be able to add more functionality at minimal cost to accomplish a more dynamic customer experience and improve revenue.

Other times a client has minimal flexibility and may need to plan and implement a very limited solution. Either way, it’s our responsibility to guide our clients to implement strategic technology and multi-use experiences that maximize their efforts and investment dollars. We firmly believe that our retailers should be as successful as possible, based on our guidance. And we’re deeply invested in assisting our individual decision makers to achieve professional and personal success, often leading to increased responsibility and promotions.

Q | How does that responsibility manifest itself at Direct Source? Do you have a dedicated or formalized customer success initiative, or is it absorbed by other departments?

A | WE HAVE AN INTERNAL CUSTOMER SUCCESS TEAMthat meets to listen to the client’s goals and plans. We review the customer’s initial use-case objective and rough ideas about the OS, application, and high-level system design. This same team meets with our major technology manufacturers frequently and is aware of future product release timelines. Given the team’s forward-thinking perspective they’re able to formulate various solution options. We strive to suggest technology solutions that have future expandability to allow the client to grow the solution to meet future use-case needs. This process is documented and presented to the client. It’s extremely important that the clients understand the various expansion options or any limitations prior to investing millions of dollars.

Q | What client KPIs do you monitor to ensure that your solutions are contributing to their success?

A | IT’S RATHER EASY TO SEE THE SUCCESS RELATED TO NEW TECHNOLOGY SOLUTIONS. Our clients have already defined the important KPIs that the technology must achieve. Our goals are to add to the technology use case and achieve additional KPIs. For the service side of our business, we monitor KPIs for clients daily and report these in real-time through the use of our client portal. We encourage our clients that utilize our services to frequently check KPIs using our internal PMO tool. We find that this transparency builds deep and lasting business relationships.

BRAD FICK is a 20+ year veteran of the retail industry and president, partner, and cofounder at Direct Source, a company specializing in technology solutions for tier-one retailers.