If it’s Thursday, Paul Hlavinka must be spending the day at T.J. Maxx. The HUGHES® program manager is part of a new customer management initiative that focuses on proactive account management by pairing up Hughes sales managers and program managers to create a total, dedicated account team for each enterprise customer.
In the past, Hughes sales and program managers were not always paired up on a dedicated basis for a particular customer, which meant each worked with different points of contact, and inevitably with different priorities. While the program manager focused on fulfilling existing contractual obligations and dealt with day-to-day operational issues within the account, the sales manager focused on new opportunities and longer-range initiatives. But Hughes shifted its approach earlier this year to ensure that teams made up of both groups work collaboratively and exclusively on the proactive management of customer accounts.
This tag team approach means both sides are better informed and can deliver an overall higher quality of customer care. Sales managers know about implementation progress, the emergence of new applications that could affect the network, and any program challenges or issues the customer may have. At the same time, program managers are better aware of what sales managers are working on in other parts of the customer’s business, such as promoting ancillary Hughes products and services or plotting a path for a network upgrade or expansion.
“With this greater exchange of communication between sales and program management, we’re more in lockstep with what’s going on within the customer’s business and the challenges and requirements they are facing, helping us to respond more quickly,” said Harry George, vice president of sales, North America for Hughes. “With a dedicated sales and program management team, we can ensure greater, continuous customer satisfaction, making the program a win-win for customers and for Hughes.”
The arrangement results in a number of benefits for both customers and Hughes. It creates more effective communication with the customer, strengthens the Hughes presence at the customer site, and helps to ensure there are no surprises. Creating a partnership relationship with the customer, the program also helps to identify issues sooner and enable faster problem resolution. The approach has proven particularly beneficial as customers move towards more Web-based applications, which often stress legacy narrowband networks. It also enables Hughes and the customer to more proactively plan for additional legacy network capacity and to develop an upgrade path to broadband HughesNet Managed Network services, which better accommodate growing traffic and applications requirements.
“As we take a more synchronized approach to our customer involvement, we can use the knowledge and insight we gain to provide better solutions to satisfy our customers—and even anticipate what those requirements will be,” said Dilbag Johal, vice president of program management, North America for Hughes.
The tag team approach allows Hughes to know the customer better and, what’s more, the customer knows that Hughes knows their company better. That’s why you may see program managers and sales managers like Hlavinka and George huddling together, sharing information, and discussing strategies—ensuring that the Hughes-customer team is a winning one.