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Welcome to Innovate Africa With Dotun Adeoye

Infinite, sustainable growth ideas and examples for strategic thinking executives every Sunday

THE BLOG

Innovate Africa With Dotun Adeoye Every Sunday

Infinite, sustainable growth ideas and examples for strategic thinking executives every Sunday

TLC 1

Stakeholders Are Customers. A Litlle TLC Goes A Long Way

If you think of your organisation’s stakeholders as just another group of customers, you need to take advantage of an opportunity. Even if you don’t think about them, they will still be there, impacting your business and demanding attention from your organisation. This post explores the similarities between stakeholder engagement and customer experience management and suggests ways organisations can improve their relationships with key stakeholders by adopting simple approaches from the world of customer experience management (CEM).

In the past, it has been shared for organisations to focus on delivering high-quality products and services to customers while neglecting their relationships with key stakeholders.

In the past, it has been shared for organisations to focus on delivering high-quality products and services to customers while neglecting their relationships with key stakeholders. In today’s business world, however, there is growing recognition that stakeholder management is about building and maintaining relationships with stakeholders.

A stakeholder is anyone interested in or who can be affected by the organisation’s activities. Stakeholders may be internal or external to the organisation.

Stakeholders are also customers and demand a similar level of attention. This means that stakeholder engagement must be treated with the same importance as customer experience.

Stakeholders are also customers and demand a similar level of attention. This means that stakeholder engagement must be treated with the same importance as customer experience.

Stakeholder engagement is integral to your company’s overall strategy; however, it can often fall by the wayside when you’re focused on operations, marketing or sales efforts. It’s easy to forget about stakeholders if they aren’t directly involved in day-to-day operations, making sales or filling new orders. But investors who support your business deserve just as much attention as people who purchase your products or services—they’re just not paying for them directly. Even if someone isn’t buying from you, they still care about how well you’re doing—and their opinion matters! It would be best if you listened to what they say and understood their needs so that you can build better solutions for everyone involved in this process (including yourself).

There are many similarities between good customer and stakeholder management – good listening skills, empathy, communication, negotiation, etc.

There are many similarities between good customer and stakeholder management – good listening skills, empathy, communication, negotiation, etc. The difference is that stakeholder management requires more time for reflection because more stakeholders have different needs and interests.

The first step in being an effective stakeholder manager is to find out what the stakeholders want from you. From there, you can work out how best to deliver this to them and manage their expectations at the outset of any project or relationship.

Organisations can thus adopt the same tools and techniques used to improve stakeholders’ customer experience.

Your organisation can apply the same tools and techniques for improving stakeholders’ customer experience. For example, listening skills, empathy, communication and negotiation are all essential in both types of relationships. You can also utilise customer service skills such as:

  • Customer satisfaction surveys
  • Customer retention strategies
  • Feedback channels

Customer experience is now a basic expectation in many sectors, so you must deliver more than functional value and connect with your customers.

Customer experience is now a basic expectation in many sectors, so you must deliver more than functional value and connect with your customers.

They don’t want just any product or service: they want the right one. Marketing has long been seen as an add-on activity, but now organisations must embed marketing into their processes. That means collaborating with sales teams on what they need from marketing and vice versa; using data analytics to understand customer preferences and behaviours; creating products that match those preferences; communicating effectively through multiple channels (including social media); engaging with influencers who can help spread the word about your company, and making sure that all these activities are linked together cohesively.

Similarly, stakeholders want organisations to go beyond meeting their functional needs by connecting emotionally with them.

As a result, stakeholders want organisations to go above and beyond meeting their functional needs by emotionally connecting with them. This is not a new concept; it’s been around for years. One of the essential elements in customer engagement is providing more than just functional value—you have to deliver something that will impact stakeholders or customers and make them feel something positive about their experience with you. Stakeholders are customers too!

Similarly, stakeholders want organisations to go beyond meeting their functional needs by connecting emotionally with them.

I once led a Product Delivery assignment in Europe. There was a stakeholder who was quite senior. The stakeholder was relatively new to Agile Scrum’s way of working. He needed to learn more, but he was unclear about how to open up about his lack of knowledge. A regular social engagement event I initiated allowed him to confide in me. I subsequently mentored him, set him on the path to a proficient Agile Scrum appreciation, and even qualified him in the process. This stakeholder management bore many favourable fruits, as you can imagine. Everything was confidential between us. Confidentiality is quite essential in emotional stakeholder engagement.

It is essential to understand how your business affects these stakeholders and what their expectations are. Do they need information, or do they need real engagement?

It is essential to understand how your business affects these stakeholders and what their expectations are. Do they need information, or do they need real engagement?

Engage them in achieving this.

Build trust with stakeholders.

Deliver more than functional value to stakeholders.

Make an emotional connection with stakeholders.

Building trust with stakeholders can be achieved by knowing what is important to them and working out how best to engage them in achieving this.

There are many ways to build trust with stakeholders, but the most important thing is understanding what is important to them.

This can be achieved through the following:

  • They understand their needs and expectations and determine how best to meet them.
  • Understanding their background and context so you know better how they operate within the organisation or community (e.g., do they prefer face-to-face engagement or written communication?)
  • Understanding how they engage with your organisation (e.g., prefer email, phone calls or webinars?)

Stakeholders are customers too!

Stakeholder management and customer management share a lot of similarities. The most obvious one is that they both want to be heard, but they also want to be treated like customers. This means that you’ll need to listen more than you speak, and when it comes time for an explanation, make sure you’re clear and concise.

In addition to being treated as customers, stakeholders expect their issues to be handled the same way as any other customer issue: someone competent in their field can explain what went wrong (and how it will be fixed). If a stakeholder feels like they’ve been ignored or not given adequate attention—even if there are no mistakes involved—they may become angry at you or your company. Continuous Tender Loving Care (TLC) is crucial.

Bottom-Line

We can all be stakeholders in an organisation, so all employees must be aware of the stakeholder engagement process. If we want to create great customer experiences and improve our relationships with stakeholders, we need to understand what they want from us as organisations.

Who am I?

I am Dotun Adeoye, a Business Growth Strategist & Author of the 5 Pillars of Business Growth.

I’ve built up my experience via serial entrepreneurship, consulting leadership roles in business growth, business development and product innovation in large companies worldwide in the last 29 years.

Today, I consult with large businesses on how to sustainably grow their businesses, sustain infinite growth, ensure business continuity and achieve a legacy.

Hire Dotun Adeoye to Speak Virtually or In – Person at your company’s event to cover this or other topics. You can also get in touch via +44 203 097 1718

 

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Innovate Africa

With Dotun Adeoye

Every Sunday

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 Teaching business leaders how to grow their businesses & leave their legacy.