In Their Own Words: Robert Edmund, CEO, Edmund Optics
THE BUSINESS CHALLENGE
Our customer service center had reached a point where we needed to make some changes. One issue was that customers were being forwarded back and forth between departments. For example, a customer calls with a product question. ‘How many of these widgets do I need to get this effect?’
The salesperson says, ‘I’m not technically competent to answer your question. Let me send you to an engineer.’
The engineer answers the question and forwards the customer back to sales to place the order. But now the customer has another technical question. Do you see how this process could be rather frustrating?
There were also organizational, cultural, and management issues extending beyond the service center. We weren’t sure whether we needed to rehire, retrain, or reorganize.
WHY CHOOSE LIZ KISLIK?
Liz communicates well with people at all levels of your company. Many consultants only work with the management group, never developing rapport with people further down. Liz cuts across all levels. She understands organizational development. She understands people. She can quickly assess a crisis and pinpoint which players are causing it, and why.
A COMPLEX PROBLEM, A CLEAR VIEW, RAPID IMPROVEMENTS
Liz helped me see things I couldn’t on my own. Any problem will have multiple aspects, both obvious and deep-seated. Liz recognizes the importance of agreeing on a few improvements you can get into play rather quickly. Knocking out your first success within a day or two gives you something to build on.
BETTER COMMUNICATION = BETTER SERVICE
Liz got the engineers and the salespeople talking. They developed a better appreciation for each other. The engineers realized it isn’t beneath them to take an order. Now, when the salesperson sends the customer to the engineer, the engineer sees all the documentation. ‘Okay,’ they can say. ‘I see what you’re trying to order, and yes, this will fix your problem.’ They no longer needed to gather more information. The engineer can take the order. No need to transfer the customer back to sales.
HOW LIZ WORKS – DIFFERENTLY
EMBRACED BY FRONTLINE STAFF
One of the top complaints from our frontline staff was that management didn’t listen. Liz quickly dispelled that. People were really comfortable with her. Liz has a wonderful ability to feed back to you what she thinks she’s hearing, giving you the security that she really understood. That’s a wonderful gift. I’ve watched some consultants try to employ that technique, but if they’re not sincere, or if they don’t have the right poise, it doesn’t work. It always works with Liz.
GETS TEAM DYNAMICS
Part of the process of change is understanding who will help you, and who will not. Liz picks up on nuance and politics. Working with her, you quickly understand who’s willing to work towards change, and who’s not. In this way, Liz helped me accomplish more. In some cases, we realized there were people in management who weren’t willing to accept change. We needed to take them off the project and refocus them elsewhere.
VALIDATES HER HYPOTHESES
Liz is an excellent detective. As the CEO, I might think the chairs need fixing, when what we really need is a new operating system. Liz doesn’t come into a meeting with some preconceived solution in her pocket. She’s willing to go through the process of seeing if a hypothesis is right or wrong. A lot of consultants don’t want to be embarrassed. For Liz, it’s more important that we arrive at the right decision.