What I've Learnt: Alphabet's Martin Quail
The value of keeping it personal
In the business world, it is vital to ensure the tone you are using is relevant for the person you’re engaging with. Key to this is making sure you come across as authentic in your interactions, whilst recognising that other people have priorities that are different to yours.
In the UK’s mature leasing market, the same ‘industry speak’ and topic themes can be repeated, but unless they are absolutely relevant to your customer, the message could be perceived as impersonal and apathetic.
People going the extra mile and adding a personal touch to their communications is something I continue to experience in my career. For example, in a previous role for a vehicle recovery company, the team went above and beyond when the heavy snow hit one winter, to make sure customers not only got home safely but in some cases, even ensured they got to a wedding on time! Actions like this mean an organisation maintains their brand integrity whilst heightening the customer’s brand experience.
Little things make a big difference
Often it’s the simple things that matter the most to our customers. From thanking them for placing their orders with us to keeping in contact with updates impacting their business – the micro details are as important as the big ideas. I think all organisations can be guilty of not doing as much of this as they should.
I recently had a two-minute conversation with a supplier, unrelated to work. Two days later I got an email from that same supplier saying: “I saw this and thought you might be interested.” It was absolutely spot on. I know he didn’t need to do that, however, this small act really did make me feel he was listening to me.
Pace, ambition and energy are the key
Being bold to realise and exceed your own and your customers’ ambitions should be a key consideration – especially for larger organisations, where business change can be slower as there are more people involved in decision-making.
I have learnt over the years that having the foresight and being motivated to do things differently is vital to a successful business outcome. If you have the energy to drive your ideas through and continue when it gets tough, bureaucratic and challenging, the rewards you can reap, both personally and for your business, will know no bounds.
My habit of overanalysing unnecessarily has sometimes held me back. Overthinking ideas is often a barrier to keeping up the pace and achieving ambitions. Ultimately, if it feels right and you’ve done enough analysis – test it and give it a go. If it doesn’t work, don’t kick yourself – try something new. Be bold and think the unthinkable.
Having fun along the way puts a smile on our – and our customers’ – faces
I find that I get personal satisfaction from doing a good job, but equally I know the onus is on me as a manager to create an environment of support and encouragement.
By creating this open communication style and dealing with issues up front, I’ve found that it’s a lot easier for me and my team to have fun at work. It’s not necessarily about going out on corporate away days; it’s about coming into work and finding a way of making the mundane feel fun. You’ll soon see that people will naturally contribute more to the business if they know they’re being listened to and that their opinions are valued. And in the end, a happy workplace makes for a happy customer.
Embrace creativity at every opportunity
Creativity has to be at the heart and core of everything you do, especially in our competitive market. In our industry, you could be in danger of having the same conversations with the same customers, day in, day out. But excitement can be created by doing this in a different way.
If you consider the pitch process for new business for example; no matter what, this is always a formal, structured process that requires a compliant response. But, there’s nothing to stop you assessing the opportunity and engaging with the customer to make for a more personal slant. It’s all about challenging the stereotypical way of dealing with everyday issues.