After ten years in my current house, I am looking to move. Through the years, I have upgraded various features (backyard landscaping, kitchen, household fixtures, etc.). Without much thought about it, I listed my house with one of the largest real estate agencies here in North Carolina. With their broad network of listings, numerous agents, and ability to network, I figured I would have showings several times a week.
Here I am a, year later, in the same house. After only a few showings over the year (of course one was in the middle of winter with five inches of snow on the ground), I revisited exactly what services were provided to me by the agency. Besides the sign in my yard and my house in their large catalog of houses for sell, I found myself wondering what exactly is being done for me.
Last week, I changed to a much smaller brokerage firm. Immediately, I can see the differences. My house is listed on numerous media channels including Facebook and Twitter. I am delivered color mini-brochures that I can leave wherever I wish. I get weekly reports on inquiries. I finally feel like someone is working for me and going above and beyond the norm. And I look in the mirror asking “Why didn’t you go this route in the first place?!?!?”
Like everything in life, I relate this back to my position with Ultimus and being in the BPM space (aka “mental problems”). I like the fact that we have a care and advocacy program in place. This program ensures we check in with our customers constantly, and many times for no other reason than just to talk to them. While license and software sales to brand new customers provide companies the largest margins and can attribute to bottom line revenues the quickest, it does not define total success.
Why are we all surprised today when we get good customer service? When the grocery person does not throw my apples into the bag, but carefully packs them, why is this so remarkable to me? What software companies forget is that there is “hidden revenue” in your existing customers. Good customer service directly results in up-selling and cross-selling opportunities. Moreover, with happy customers, the “word of mouth” effect takes over and you find that people start calling YOU for your business.
I do not think I could ever work for a large company again where my identity equates to a social security number. I like the fact that I know my customers by their first name. I like the fact that I can drive to their offices, have a Diet Coke with them, and simple ask, “How are things?” In this case, the smaller company, one-on-one customer approach is the ideal way to do business.
VP Product and Technology