As human beings, we have a particular talent for hearing what we want to hear. We cherry pick facts to fit our understanding. We filter out the arguments that counter our deeply-held beliefs.
This is particularly dangerous in customer relationship management. Even the most experienced professionals can miss vital signs that all is not well with a customer relationship. Because their brain naturally twists and filters what they are being told to translate it into something more positive and palatable.
A second opinion is always valuable in these cases. And no opinion carries more weight than the numbers.
A proper analysis of a customer’s behavior through the details of their transactional relationship with your organization can be hugely revealing. But who has the time to run such an analysis? The reality for most finance teams today is growing demand and limited resource, often both in people and skills.
The solution may lie outside of the finance team. One of the key features of the truly modern finance function is the ability to effectively partner with other areas of the business, equipping them with the tools and insight for powerful analysis. If finance can provide the data, systems and expertise, then sales, marketing, and operations should be able – with the right relationships and training – to do their own analysis.
The reality will never be quite so neat: that is the nature of business partnering. But the burden shouldn’t be solely shouldered by the finance team. Apart from anything else, this creates a competitive relationship around two different versions of the truth. No organization needs new sources of friction between functions.
Get partnering like this right, and you can empower other areas of the business to improve performance through proper application of valuable information. Conversations with the customer can be better informed if they are based on the facts of their behavior, not just the words they are saying when you meet.