Like you, I look at all the articles about layoffs, the financial crisis, the bailout, and I wonder, “How will I get through this?” If you are still working, there are numerous articles that explain how not to get laid off (here are 9 tips for taking control of your career in the face of layoffs, and 5 more ways to protect yourself from a layoff). These stories are everywhere, but I have not yet seen what I feel is the most obvious way to prevent being laid off.
That is, customer service.
Let me explain. No matter what job or position you have, you always have customers – whether they be internal managers, peers, business units, branch offices, downstream partners, QA teams, PMOs, sales teams, etc. – that rely on what you produce. They may not even know it, but in today’s economic turmoil, it's to your benefit to know who they are and to make sure they know what you can and do, in fact, do for them!
Obviously, your boss is one of your customers, and you must continue to produce your best results for him or her.
But if push comes to shove, the business users and internal business community will want to keep the top producers that make them look good. By targeting your best “above and beyond” customer service efforts to a few of your key internal customers and making those individuals look good, they will work hard to help protect your job, in order to protect their own.
You just need to estimate the highest ROI vs the opportunity costs relative to each internal customer in order to target and maximize your best efforts to the highest potential customers.
Here are a few qualifiers to consider:
Revenue vs. Cost Center -- Revenue is king! As one of my mentors put it, “You can’t cost-cut your way to success”. If you can help bring in new clients, land new contracts, or add/build industry recognition, that makes you a winner! You don’t have to be in sales to talk up your company’s products and services. Bring your legitimate leads to your head of sales and offer to broker an introduction. Similarly, speak at industry conferences, or write articles or commentaries for industry publications and websites. Be sure to give your name and your company’s name. Meet afterwards with and offer to assist specific authors, editors, and speakers, who prefer to stay connected with others in the industry. Any industry recognition you bring to the company, be sure to send links, copies and information to your boss(es), HR, your internal customers and to marketing. The above is intended to help prioritize your efforts to the revenue side of the house for maximum effect. But, if you can also provide cost-saving solutions, as well, then you may be able to establish yourself as an all-around problem solver and business-enabler.
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