No matter the account, all account managers have the same simple goal; make the customer happy. The challenge is how will we get to where we want to go without a plan? Would you get in a car, determined to arrive at your destination without any idea of how to get there? No, you would determine where you want to go and then plan how to get there, which directions to take, how much time and gas are needed and so on. The same is true for the Account Service Plan which is used to align the practices of Dell Technologies with those of the customer in order to arrive at our destination – operational excellence.
Account planning is the process of building strategic plans to improve value-driven relationships with your key customers that can help in long-term development and retention. Effective account plans help account managers gain greater in-depth understanding of their customer(s).
The Account Service Plan (ASP) is a document that outlines all pertinent information about your customer, including their business goals, challenges and priorities. It is designed for external collaboration with the customer and customer stakeholders. It identifies how we operate together today for strong goal and relationship maintenance now and into the future.
The Account Service Plan drives us to collaborate with our customer to determine the following and more:
- Business / IT Alignment Delivery
- Customer Business Overview and Strategy
- Disaster Recovery
- Communication Information
An Account Service Plan is essential to identifying opportunities, improving customer relationships, growing the business, creating value and reducing risk in order to reach our shared goal of operational excellence. Seven vital steps in the planning process are:
- Account Overview – define all the important information about your customer relevant to the account plan.
- Objectives – what does your customer want to achieve and how will success be measured?
- Solution – identify the potential solutions that support your customer’s objectives which are in line with Dell’s best practices.
- Action Plan – decide on a course of action and list the steps needed to achieve your shared goals.
- Managing Change – evaluate the customer’s account plan strengths. Adjust as needed to provide the greatest probabilities for success and growth.
- Implementation – agree on the actions and due dates.
- Review – regularly review and adjust your plan to ensure you stay on track.
Communication is the key to unlocking the door to partnership with your customer and operational excellence. Don’t assume you know what your customer wants. Ask and then listen to the answer. Pay attention to what the customer is saying. Ask follow-up questions, clarify points and rephrase what they have said so that you know you have understood correctly. Document the discussion in your customer’s Account Service Plan template.
The best attribute of written communication is that can be used to share various amounts of information without the risk of someone forgetting because it can be referred to for reminders. Review the information received together with your customer, revise as needed and share with the customer stakeholders.
Regardless of where you are in your customer experience, there is always opportunity to gain insight and add value for our customers. A solid account service plan lets us implement, operate and improve upon our customer relationship. In line with the Dell Technologies Culture Code, we always listen and treat every customer interaction as an opportunity to create a raving fan and future business opportunity.
We always work knowing there are only two jobs in our company: those who serve our customers and those who support them. We never take our customer relationships for granted. If we keep these tenets in mind as we create our service plans, we will win together and achieve operational excellence. Watch the video above to learn more and reach out to a Dell Technologies business advisor our service account manager to learn more about creating or updating your service account plan.