Excellence is a Journey – by Brian O’Neill

Brian O'Neill
FIS | Chief Client Officer, IFS
Posted on December 5, 2017

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How is your company achieving Excellence?

Achieving excellence in client relations is a continuous journey where consistency is a key component in delivering excellent client experiences. The value of consistency cannot be underestimated.

Consistency demands discipline

Consistency in delivering excellent client experiences demands discipline. It takes rigor. It takes commitment. It does not come easily. It takes effort – constant effort.

Paraphrasing from an article written by Eric Holtzclaw on the power of consistency, below are his five rules that make the difference between failure and success:

1. Consistency allows for measurement.

It has been said, without metrics, everything else is opinion. To that end, it is critical to not only identify key metrics that are indicators of consistency driving excellence but committing to the actions needed over time to make them measurable. Buckle-up – this one is easier said than done.

2. Consistency creates accountability.

We expect our team members to be accountable for their deliverables and goals. They should expect the same in return from leadership and their peers. The focus should be on progress as that acts as the catalyst to move an engagement to a successful conclusion.

3. Consistency establishes your reputation.

Business growth requires a track-record of success. Consistency in execution and delivering on our values ensures that we remain on the path to achieving our objectives. This, in turn, creates your “brand” or your corporate reputation. It is the foundation of what your reputation is in the marketplace.

4. Consistency makes you relevant.

Customers need a predictable flow of information to help run and drive their businesses. They rely on service delivery and support to help them achieve their goals – a partnership. By delivering on a consistent basis we become an integral part of their success.

5. Consistency maintains your message.

I prefer the definition of culture as “it is how leadership behaves while everyone is watching.” Why? It demonstrates what is important. If leaders are not responsive to their teams, why would they expect their teams to be responsive to clients? In embracing and acting upon our values, our message becomes a consistent one.

Excellence requires consistency in embracing your values

Within the FIS Payments business unit, our path to excellence is defined by delivering a consistently excellent client experience in every interaction. It is our unifying narrative. It is our mission.

Ultimately, our goal is to narrow the gap between the best possible client experience and a not so great one – which would still be rated as a ‘very good’ client experience.

To ensure that gap is closed, and we execute on our promise, our team is focused on embracing our values and living them every day:

Advocacy – We are client champions by knowing our clients, building relationships, and working on their behalves to ensure their success.

Responsiveness – We are committed to being resourceful to ensure timely communication because we recognize that it is a critical component of the service experience.

Accountability – We accept responsibility for our actions and strive to deliver a consistent client experience by meeting our commitments.

Fun! – Our team culture is the backbone that makes us successful as we approach every challenge with enthusiasm and a passion to delight.

In other words, “We are client champions committed to being resourceful and striving to deliver a consistent client experience with enthusiasm and a passion to delight.”

Excellence is not achieved overnight

“It takes time to create excellence. If it could be done quickly, more people would do it.” John Wooden

It takes time to achieve excellence and then continuous practice to sustain it. According to Malcolm Gladwell, achieving elite performance requires around 10 years or 10,000 hours of practice. On the other hand, author Josh Kaufman reports that a more typical career goal, such as learning a new program, can be attained in around 20 hours if someone is willing to commit to focused practice. Be it an elite performer or a junior programmer, one must continue to practice to achieve continued success.

As I was taught while in grade-school, repetition is the “mother of all knowledge.” Quick – what is 6 x 7… that lesson still resonates today. By definition, excellence means being superior – being better than the competition and consistently practicing being viewed as ‘world class’ in one’s own arena.

But, to be certain, excellence does not mean perfection. Mistakes happen. Errors are made. When imperfect situations arise, how companies engage, recover and respond determines the ultimate level of excellence brought to bear.

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Brian O'Neill
FIS | Chief Client Officer, IFS

Brian’s extensive experience in sales, marketing, operations and client relations make him uniquely adept to face the challenges that face today’s financial industry. In addition to his other roles, Brian has played key executive leadership roles in healthcare and in the consumer packaged goods space, helping him to gain a broad business perspective.