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How to get the Vision, Mission and Values Stuff Right. From a Customer Support Perspective.

This June will be 3 years since I penned a personal article here that was about how to get the Vision, Mission and Values in-place to ensure you have a high performance team.  In that article, I mentioned a document that my team maintains that we call our “Team Operating Agreement” (TOA.)  As I mentioned in that in that article, our TOA is a “manifesto” for our team. This document is meant to lay out a prescribed set of “right behaviors”– things we expect everyone on the team to engage in to help us realize our vision and mission that we have established for ourselves.

Earlier in the quarter, a new set of corporate values was unveiled.  When they were introduced, I got really excited about them.  I knew that we were going to have to revamp our Support TOA and make these new values a big part of that document going forward.  I’m excited to tell you that we have completed the overhaul of the Support TOA.  The new TOA is aligned with the new values, and it covers a couple of other miscellaneous topics as well.

Our New Business Values 

  • BE Customer Obsessed
  • HAVE a Bias for Action
  • COMMIT to personal Ownership/Accountability
  • BUILD Trust/Transparency
  • EMPOWER Each other through DEI & Belonging
  • PRACTICE Intentional Innovation

As we layered these new values into our TOA, we sought to accomplish three things:

  1. Define what each value means
  2. Layout why the value is important
  3. Examples of ways to “walk the talk” with respect to each of our new values

I will share a few of the values and the treatment we gave each value at a high level in our revised TOA simply as examples:

BE Customer Obsessed

  • Our definition is “to maintain a hyper-focused state; always creating a better customer experience— from the customer’s perspective.”
  • The “why” behind this value is that of course “customer needs are at the center of everything we do.  Support is built around customer needs.”
  • When it comes to walking the talk, we give a couple of day-to-day pointers for the team like:
    • Ask for feedback – asking tells the customer that we are always looking for ways to improve.
    • Focus on relationships – talk to customers about their weekend, their interests, their hobbies—this builds common ground
    • Keep your promises – if you say you’ll send out notes from the call, send out the notes!

BUILD Trust and Transparency

  • Definition:  Being open and honest. Expressing your opinions and being direct. Trust is a result of transparency.
  • The why – “Trust is the denominator of efficiency.” Nothing is going to improve long-term if trust doesn’t exist.
  • Walk the talk: 
    • Explain your decisions – this helps the customer get comfortable with your decision making and the thinking behind it. 
    • Respond positively to honesty – feedback is a gift and in every piece of feedback there is almost always a germ of truth that can be used for improvement. 
    • Socialize with team members and customers – we have a group of Engineers that participate in a weekend casual gaming group and they work together even better on Monday morning on account of that weekend play that they have engaged in.

HAVE a Bias for Action

  • Definition:  Favoring action over inaction. 
  • Why:  “The world’s roads are paved with indecisive squirrels.”  Act, adapt and survive. 
  • Walk the talk: 
    • Be clear and quick to communicate problems – the faster bad news travels, the faster we can react. 
    • Foster a high degree of psychological safety on the team – this is more for me and managers on our team but the idea is that we should reward the team for taking action. that does not have the intended outcomes expected—not beat them up for it.

Jump in and help on other team member’s tickets/projects – look for others you can help even if it’s just once a week.  This will induce others to help you over time again and again.

There is no doubt that Qumu’s new values will only enhance our award-winning Customer Support team’s work with our customers. The new values provide a clearer focus for our team, touch all the aspects of what makes a great customer experience, and these values can be shared easily through our TOA. Every second that goes by since we adopted these new values, our customer’s experience is getting better and better.  Get out of your chair and make a positive difference in your life – get clear on your values, document them in your own TOA and go make those you serve happier and better for having worked with you!

Scott Gilbert is Vice President, Global Support at Qumu

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