Rapid Response - Solutions for Economic Transition
Dec 07

Customer-Centric Models for Rapid Response

By Celina Shands Gradijan
Full Capacity Marketing, Inc.

In our last blog, we provided an online evaluation to help you determine how well your Rapid Response (RR) teams are integrated as part of business services in your local workforce investment area.  One of the questions that scored the lowest (41.7%) asked if RR teams utilize a standard set of probing questions to uncover the needs of a business prospect during an initial meeting. This is important for several reasons:

  1. It allows everyone associated with business services to standardize a consultative sales process.
  2. The answers to these probing questions can be aggregated frequently to provide real-time market research on customers’ needs.
  3. It’s a roadmap to match the most appropriate solution with a business’ most pressing needs.

Uncovering a business’ critical needs and finding an immediate solution is the first-step in building credibility and trust. This may or may not be a downsizing situation, or an immediate match for RR services—it doesn’t matter. The goal of an integrated business services delivery system is to bring together all service providers that work collaboratively in the best interest of the business (customer-centric model) versus the requirements of the funding stream (funding-based model).

The Workforce Investment Board of Tulare County (TCWIB), located in central California, is a good example of workforce and economic development teams aligning their missions to attract, retain and grow local businesses. The TCWIB’s business services team consists of their RR Coordinator, TCWIB Business Services team, and their One-Stop staff and partners (job developers and case managers).
Recognizing that these multiple teams may share customers, they partnered with their local economic development agency to create one collective set of products and services that could add value during any business cycle. The initiative was branded Innovate Tulare County and packaged all services under this umbrella. These included layoff aversion, Rapid Response, Enterprise Zone tax credits, sector strategies and a Training Toolbox (customized training, on-the-job training, and work experience). The teams utilize a common sales process and an Internet-based tool that walks their initial business customers through a needs assessment and matches the immediate needs with the appropriate solution(s). The teams are building partnerships with other businesses and consultants in the region that can assist their customers with services that are not offered under the Innovate Tulare County umbrella such as accounting, business planning, marketing, etc.
Executive Director TCWIB Adam Peck said, “Having a coordinated approach to business outreach is critical to building trust and credibility.  If a business is considering a layoff and we have already established a solid relationship, then they are more likely to proactively seek our assistance in times of crisis. Innovate Tulare County is an initiative that encompasses parts of each organization’s activities, as a means of building synergy within our mutual objectives and activities.”
To assist those who have been dislocated from their jobs, the TCWIB Rapid Response teams use a coordinated sales effort to convert Rapid Response onsite participants to a customer of the One-Stop Career Centers. We’ll explore these strategies, along with proactive outreach campaigns, in our next blog.
What are some of the ways that you coordinate business services in your area? Weigh in on the Discussion Board.  If you haven’t taken the Two Minute Rapid Response Integration Audit, go to http://bit.ly/aoCDY3.

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