Mr. Moore’s Law #2 is a common sense rule that most of us learned from our fathers or grandfathers. I can actually remember learning it from my grandfather and having it reinforced by my father—always use the right tool for the job (e.g., don’t use a pocket knife to chop down a tree). This law also has an unwritten sister law—only use a tool for its intended purpose (e.g., don’t hammer nails with the handle of a screwdriver or the flat side of a large pair of pliers).
I learned this law from my father and grandfather, but it was a staple “arrow” in Mr. Moore’s quiver of rules. If, at this point, you are wondering who Mr. Moore is, he was a retired drill sergeant that I worked for while I was a stock boy at a department store (see Introducing Mr. Moore, the last entry).
For Mr. Moore, this rule meant using a box cutter to open boxes, not a pocket knife, scissors or a screwdriver. It meant using a putty knife to get gum off the floor, not the side of your shoe, the back of the broom or the stock boy’s favorite tool for dealing with gum on the floor—“What gum??””
For account managers, it’s a bit more complicated. In order to do our job the best we can and serve our customers in a way that creates value for them, we have to be fully armed with the right tools.
We need to be able to segment our customers in a way that allows us to distinguish between them and serve each of them appropriately. Where should we invest resources and where should we cut back? Where do we need immediate intervention to solve relationship threatening problems? A good customer segmentation tool can make the job significantly easier.
Good customer loyalty research and other insights about customers are also the right tools for the job of serving customers in a value-adding way. Are you getting the right information—information that is from the perspective of your customers and that enables you to help them? If not, talk to whoever is responsible for customer listening and help them understand what information you need.
Any information that account managers use should be easily accessible through tools that are already in use—through your customer relationship management (CRM) tools, direct access on your mobile phone or handheld, even in through your email system. The tools themselves and the delivery of the information is a key component to managing your accounts. Make sure they are the right ones for your situation.
After all, your father and Mr. Moore would be disappointed to learn that you were hammering nails with the handle of a good screwdriver.