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August 27, 2012

Renewing our vows

Posted by Jan Erik Aase (View Profile | View All Posts) at 5:34 AM

This month my wife and I are celebrating our 30 year anniversary .  It should go without saying that I've spent the last few months trying to think about what we will do to celebrate.   Of course, a natural place to look for reminders of that wonderful day was our wedding album. (Yes, it is an album full of printed pictures - digital pics, DVDs and personal video cams didn't exist in the early eighties).  As I looked through our wedding album, I realized how much we've changed.  Sadly the extra weight, wrinkles, grey hair and aging were pretty obvious changes...for my wife, and I just look more distinguished today (ha ha, don't let my wife see this post!!).

All joking aside, what I realized was that my wife is no longer the same person I married.  I know that I actually love and care for her more today than I did in 1982, but her needs, likes, and concerns are much different today versus when we were dating and first married. I also know that I am different; most importantly I now have a job, make more money and hopefully have much more to give to our relationship. I also discovered that many people choose to renew their vows at this point in their marriages.  It is a wonderful reminder of why you got married in the first place and hopefully it creates an appreciation for why you want to be married for another 30 years.

All of this got me thinking about renewing our vows with our clients. It got me thinking about recent conversations I've had with both Infosys clients and non-clients, and research I published while I was a principal analyst at Forrester. In that research, I'd asked clients what their concerns were about the future of offshore outsourcing. One point that was in their top 10 concerns was the need to be "re-courted or won over again" by their vendors. This sentiment echoes in what I am reading between the lines in various RFPs I've recently seen.  Clients are telling me/us that they don't know who some of their vendors are today as compared with the company they hired 8-10 years ago. They also don't believe their vendors know how they've changed, who they are, and what their needs are today. 
Rock the boat baby: If everything is going well (all my SLAs and KPIs are green) why would I rock the boat?! My wife is a creature of habit, I know her favorite meal is a medium-rare filet mignon, a loaded baked potato and a Caesar salad. But recently, I introduced her to some Latin influenced Chinese food and she loved it. She asked why I had waited so long to share those dishes with her. Often our clients don't realize we have additional services or different engagement models that we could offer that might suit them better than what we are doing for them today.  Don't wait for an RFP or for clients to ask, take a deeper look at your clients and suggest a change in their dinner choices that might just surprise them.

Location, location, location: Relationship therapists often suggest that couples experience a change of scenery to put a spark back in their marriage. Many vendors were very India-centric a dozen years ago and might still be delivering in the same manner today even though they now have delivery centers all around the world and a much more robust Global Delivery Model (GDM).  Our clients are increasingly becoming more global in their offerings and operations.  New delivery location might just be the trick to add a spark back into our client relationships and the value we provide.

What do they need?: Clothing, jewelry and perfume have always been sure hits as gifts for my wife. But she is now the mother of four very active and demanding daughters. I recently figured out that the gift she would most appreciate is a trip away from all of us!  That doesn't mean she doesn't still want those other things but she has different needs today. Our clients are also in different positions today, maybe in relation to their industry, their size, their revenue or even their stability. We might have capabilities, alliances, or even products that would be very beneficial to them today.   We won't know if we aren't offering those new capabilities to our clients.

KISS - (Keep It Simple, Stupid): One of my wife's favorite things to say to me before I embark on solving problems or giving advice. We should also keep this in mind as we look to re-court or woo our clients. Don't do a full marketing blitz on them, they won't like it.  Think long and hard about the message and only tell them relevant things about who you are today as compared to when they hired you.  Emphasize why they should want to remain "married" to us.

Impress them, care for them, win them over -the second honeymoon will be a lot more enjoyable!!!

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