Over the break I’ve been thinking about how some companies like to brag about their ability to deliver to specification, on time and within budget. But surely, these are ‘givens’? What about additional measures such as ‘harmony’, ‘delight’ and, yes, even ‘love’; aren’t these the kind of things that inspire loyalty and trigger favourable recommendations?
My company prides itself on its relationships with its clients – understanding their needs and tailoring our responses precisely to them. That’s the harmony element. We also deliver and go the extra mile, plus a bit more, to make sure they’re delighted with our services. In fact, we strive hard to make them love us, so that they spread the good word. An internal recommendation to another divisional head is probably the most powerful way of expanding our business. It’s priceless. We like to think of this as cross-buying rather than cross-selling. And it’s been working for the past 13 years.
Okay, we may appear to be a bit altruistic, but we base our approach on common sense. We are unusual in that we embed, in a single company, three lines of business which clients normally source separately, along with the administrative headaches that go with such an approach. Why go to one company for contingency staff, another for outsourcing work and a third for ‘Statement of Work’ based tech projects or programmes when you can get all three, of at least the same quality, from a single organisation? You can perhaps see where the ‘Hybrid’ part of our name comes from.
As, as sometimes happens, a client’s needs change – a headcount freeze in the middle of a project for example – a one-source company like ours can rearrange matters so that contingency staff move to a fixed-price contract team to complete the work suddenly threatened by such a policy change.
We are lucky that we are a privately-owned business. Our staff aren’t bound by red tape or the demands of shareholders to maximise their billable hours (and their billing rates). It means that our employees are flexible and can respond quickly to changing circumstances, doing what’s right rather than looking over their shoulders all the time. We encourage original thinking, innovation and agility as part of our culture. The talent we put in to fulfil a contract is exactly the same quality as that discussed during the initial negotiation. We do not subscribe to the “A-team to sell and B-team to deliver” principle, which seems to be quite common in so many walks of life.
Our story has appealed to several types of C-level executives, especially the Chief Procurement Officer, The Chief Financial Officer and the Chief Technology Officer. They each have their reasons. The CPO thinks, “We have too many suppliers – it’s great to have a supplier that has multiple lines.” The CFO thinks, “We save money this way and, furthermore, the more we buy the greater the discounts.” And the CTO thinks, “This helps my consolidation and rationalisation. I get multiple services under one roof and I get a good price.” Our model might be disruptive in that it challenges traditional perceptions about company specialisations. But, in its way, is this so different from a bank offering insurance and pension services for example? After all, we have come to accept this as normal.
Our company serves some of the world’s largest organisations. And they keep coming back for the above reasons. And also, to paraphrase a line from an old Al Jolson song, “we made them love us.” It’s what we do and we’re proud to be that kind of company, working in a spirit of true partnership and harmony with our clients.