Does anyone actually care in business these days? 

Do your service providers really care about you? Does it even matter if they do? I believe it does and here is why. 

We all start in business with high hopes of success and the belief that we will be making a difference in people’s lives. All big businesses started as small ones, driven into life by passionate founders who really cared about what they did. Their names and reputations were on the line to ensure they did their work with honour and authenticity.

Then as the business grows, managers start to make decisions and set the culture. Perhaps they share some of the founders’ values, but they don’t care quite as much as it’s ‘just a job’. So the customer service slips a bit and they don’t care quite as much. Sound familiar?

But it doesn’t have to be like this. By establishing clear guidelines of behaviour and setting your culture in processes, the founders’ values can be followed in everyone’s best interest. 

In my company, Skillfield, I have tried to code ‘we care’ into the daily processes and decisions of the business. 

For those that don’t know us, Skillfield is an IT and professional services company founded to empower businesses to excel in the digital era. Skillfield’s mission is to harness technology to solve complex problems with simplified solutions.

As a relatively new company, we’ve had the opportunity to create our culture and core values to talk the talk and walk the walk. So let me share what has worked for us . . . 

One of our unique qualities is that we are a genuine partner that cares. In this blog post I will break down the elements of a ‘genuine partner who cares’ and what that means for our team, organisation, customers and community. 

Our Team

One of our pillars of success is having the right people in the right environment. Hence, the first thing we care about is our people. Our team is a group of skilled professionals who trust us with their careers. It’s our responsibility to ensure they develop their career during their time with us. This is demonstrated by supporting the continuous learning process. Our team is always encouraged to learn new skills, and to do so, they have a pre-approved budget to spend on training. Also, the team is eligible for training and study leave to use for learning.

Our team is encouraged to attain industry certifications. Not because we are fans of collecting certificates. But because we appreciate the skills obtained and efforts put in to study and prepare for exams that will be crowned by obtaining the certificate.

In addition to the training, we encourage our team to continuously challenge themselves and get out of their comfort zone. We celebrate success together as much as we celebrate the misses. We describe our environment as a supported environment. 

To ensure our team is living in the right environment; we live and breathe our F.I.R.S.T. core values every day, we hire and evaluate performance based on them. Our core values guide our team’s behaviour and help our team members understand the difference between right and wrong. Our team is encouraged to Focus and Finish, Innovate, Respect everyone, Satisfy our customers and Take informed decisions. We have a quarterly award to the team members who best demonstrate our company values in action throughout their day to day interactions.

That’s not all. We love to have fun while working as well, and that’s why we conduct regular team building activities and non-formal catch ups, including virtual and in-person gatherings. 

The company we are building is one that everyone enjoys working for.

Our Organisation

We care about our organisation and that’s why we adopted the EOS (ENTREPRENEURIAL OPERATING SYSTEM®). EOS is a structured way of working smarter and not harder as a business, with simple concepts and tools that actually work and have helped thousands of entrepreneurs get what they want out of their businesses.

The EOS enables us to spare some time to move away from working in the business to work on the business. As part of the EOS we conduct planning sessions annually and quarterly to look at the future, define goals then plan how to achieve them.

Thanks to EOS everyone is accountable for growing the business. Each team member has one or more high priority items to work on per quarter (called Rocks), and at least one number to report in a scorecard.

EOS helps us keep our team on the same page even when separated physically, maintain accountability remotely and adapt our company’s values. We have weekly team meetings during which we cascade messages across the organisation, we look at our scorecards, follow up on action items and report on the progress of the rocks. The most important part of the meeting is to identify, discuss and resolve issues collectively.

Our Customers

We hold our customers’ interests in our hearts. We always do what’s best for our customers and we like to go above and beyond to satisfy and do what’s right for them to achieve mutual success.

Before engaging with any customer, we work extensively to understand their requirements and to assess their needs. If for any reason, we discover we are unable to deliver, in that case, we happily call it out and advise the customer of the best alternative, even if it is referring them to a competitor.

Our golden rule during an engagement is to give the customers just enough resources to do the work and just enough technology to utilise. We love when our customers share their budget with us. And, we make sure to consume it wisely to achieve their business outcomes, not just consume it until it’s finished. We want every customer to say that the money spent with us is money worth spending.

Our customer journey always embarks on building a minimum valuable product (MVP) to ensure mutual success. This is an important step to ensure the vision is clear to everyone, the tools selected are fit for purpose and ensure the customer recognises business values as quickly as possible.

At the end of every engagement, we make sure we hand over and train the customer to operate our deliverables without us. We don’t limit ourselves to preparing documents and conducting training sessions; we take the handover up a level by recording training videos to be added to the customer assets and used to train future employees. We believe that handing all the information to our customers increases their trust in us and hopefully leads to other customer projects or referrals.

We like to continue doing business with our customers, and we don’t hide that desire from them. That’s why we plan with them as part of their teams the roadmap to grow their businesses and stand out from the crowd.

Our Community

We appreciate the knowledge we gain from the community and we love to contribute back. That’s why we continuously release blog posts on our website and participate in industry webinars. We also sponsor a meetup group and work hard with our network of industry leaders and partners to bring speakers to the community to share knowledge. The meetup sessions and webinars are recorded and posted on our Youtube channel, so the content is available for everyone to see on-demand across the globe.

The most exciting aspect of our community contribution is to support the fresh graduates to get their first job and enter the professional world. We are big believers in new graduates and we appreciate their energy and enthusiasm. We believe the right ones are ready for full-time jobs. That’s why since starting Skillfield, we’ve hired three graduates every calendar year and supported their career development throughout their employment with us.

Last but not least, we enjoy working with students and are proud to partner with Australian universities to provide industry mentorship for research projects to help the yet to be professionals increase their skills and confidence to become business and industry leaders.

The results

Even though we work in a professional business environment, we are all human and want to be treated with respect and fairness in all business interactions. That’s why we have created our company values to reinforce to all new employees in our fast-growing business the importance of really caring about our customers whilst maintaining professionalism. 

We believe that caring is an essential differentiator in our business and industry. It is not a nice-to-have; it’s a clear business strategy. The best technology, the most skilled resources and the most efficient processes are not enough. We simply care more and it comes naturally and produces an environment where everyone enjoys working. 

To answer my original question, does it even matter if your service provider cares? I believe it does. 

Author: Mouaz Alnouri