The Verghis Group

Free TSIA webinar: August 5th: Measures, Metrics and Madness

By Phil Verghis on July 26, 2010

If you want to hear a complimentary one hour (webinar) version of what I will be covering at my next workshop, register for the August 5th TSIA webinar at:

While it is tailored for service & support executives,  it will be useful for any senior manager wrestling with measures, and looking for new ways to motivate people.

Free white paper (no registration needed) on which the workshop is built:

Expert for Hire — or Trusted Advisor?

By Phil Verghis on October 30, 2008

From the October 2008 Verghis View newsletter. (Sign up at home page.)

Many of us in the technology world have been witness to two “once in a lifetime” events. The first was the dot com bubble, where huge growth was pursued at all costs. That was followed by a big bust when it became clear that profitability mattered after all.The second event is the most extraordinary financial crisis since the Great Depression in the US.

Despite billions of dollars and euros being spent to ease the liquidity crisis, financial institutions are still hoarding cash because they don’t trust each other’s financial stability.In addition, billions of dollars of shareholder value are being wiped out as rumors of corporations’ possible demise enter cyberspace and ricochet around, taking huge chunks out of their stock price.

For a recent example, look no further back than September 6, 2008, when several web sites mistakenly picked up a Chicago Tribune story about United Airlines filing for bankruptcy. In reality, United had filed for bankruptcy in December, 2002 and emerged from bankruptcy in early 2006. But some sites reprinted the 2002 story, thinking it was current news. UAL shares opened the day at $12.16 before plummeting as low as $3 before trading was halted.

So what does all this have to do with support? A lot, it turns out. Unless you operate purely in a break-fix model, much of what we do involves gaining our client’s trust and becoming a true partner with them for their success. Last time, I wrote about how to manage in tough times. This time it seems to be a perfect time to revisit what being a trusted advisor is all about.

I recently re-read Clients for Life: Evolving from an Expert-for-Hire to an Extraordinary Adviser by Jagdish Sheth and Andrew Sobel. In it, they interview CEOs and advisors to see what distinguishes a client advisor – an irreplaceable resource – from a tradable commodity like an expert.

  • Experts are specialists; advisors become deep generalists with broad perspective.
  • Experts are for hire; advisors have selfless independence.
  • Experts have professional credibility; advisors have deep personal trust.
  • Experts analyze; advisors synthesize.
  • Experts supply expertise; advisors are educators who provide insight and wisdom.

As we explore the shift from a tiered model of support to a Savvy Support model, one of the key attributes will be a transition from frontline staff being break-fix experts to valued advisors. Under Savvy Support, routine/ simple/ known issues are taken care of either by eliminating the problem in the first place or solving the issues via self service. This approach frees the support staff to handle more difficult, unknown problems. The more they focus on resolving these, the more likely they are to become client advisors.

There you have it: how to move from being “hired hands” to “client advisors.” The faster you make the change, the more your clients will trust you and call on you — in good times and bad.

Article reproduced in Australian newsletter

By Phil Verghis on March 25, 2008

Steve Simpson, a well respected Australia-based authority on corporate culture reproduced my newsletter article titled ‘Are perceptions reality?‘. In addition to being a really nice guy and a terrific speaker, his newsletter is read by people in 31 countries.

His opening paragraph states:

“From time to time, we bring you articles written by people we respect and admire. Phil Verghis, based in the US is a good friend of Steve Simpson. More importantly, he is highly regarded for his expertise in areas including how to structure global support and how to motivate a globally distributed support team. The article below is from Phil’s latest newsletter.”

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