|Copyright 2014 by Virgo Publishing.|
|By: Cary F. McGovern|
|Posted on: 10/01/2001|
The Client-Needs AssessmentThe most crucial component of selling records management
By Cary F. McGovern
The survey, or client-needs assessment (CNA), is the most important component of consultative selling for records-management services. Many of my customers have asked me to develop a list of questions to be asked during the interview phase of the survey process, which is comprised of three steps: the questionnaire, the client interview and the walkabout. Each is an essential component.
The questionnaire should be designed to draw out issues to discuss in the client- interview and walkabout phases. It represents a way to generate more meaningful questions during the survey. For more information on this step, see "Questionnaires in Records Management" from the July 1999 issue of Inside Self-Storage. The article may be accessed online through the ISS article archive or at www.fileman.com.
The client-interview questions should always include these basic inquiries: who, what, when, where, how much, how often and why. Some suggested questions are listed below for your use.
During the walkabout, you are primarily interested in validating the answers received in the questionnaire and the interview components of the survey. This is where you check reality. The principal question in this segment of course is, "Why?" It is the "why" question that draws out the differences between perception and reality in any business process.
I have designed the client-interview questions in a building-block approach. We begin with the basic element of the box (or storage unit) and build the questions through the client's records-management program.
The Box (Records-Storage Unit)
1. What kind of box do you use for records storage?
The Box Index (Contents)
1. Who in your operation is responsible for indexing (labeling) a records-
The Transfer to Storage
1. Who is responsible for the transfer of boxes to storage?
The Storage Location
1. Do you use a commercial records-storage vendor? If so, which one?
Retrieval and Re-Files
1. Who retrieves items from storage?
1. What is your records-retention policy? If there is an existing document,
may we have a copy to review?
1. Is there a records-destruction policy? If there is a document, may we have
a copy for our review?
Other Records-Management Issues
1. Are missing or lost files a problem in your organization? If so, how long
do you search for missing files before giving up?
There is no such thing as a complete list of questions for any client-needs assessment. In many cases, one answer leads to another question. Be aware of the issues you uncover. Remember that issues are the crux of revenue opportunities for you in your records- management business.
Regular columnist Cary McGovern, CRM, is the principal of FileMan and FIRMS (FileMan Internet Records Management Services). If you have questions about the survey process or how to develop a commercial records-management business as part of a self-storage operation, call 877.FILEMAN or e-mail email@example.com.