Customer relationship management – an essential element in occupational injury prevention

By Michael Rienerth, BWC Ergonomics Technical Advisor

One of my favorite sayings is, “people don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.” That philosophy and approach are absolutely essential when it comes to delivering effective safety and health consulting. And BWC’s occupational safety and health consultants sincerely care – not only about helping employers prevent occupational injuries and illnesses but also about delivering high-quality, customer-focused service in a more efficient and economical way.

As safety and health professionals, our education and training focuses on the technical methods that are used to analyze hazards and prevent injuries and illnesses. As a result – we sometimes overlook the need to build relationships and develop trust with the people who are ultimately responsible for making those changes. Eventually, we learn that we first need to first to understand the unique history, needs and preferences of each customer before we can suggest the most appropriate injury and illness prevention services to address their situations. Developing that trust is truly one of the most challenging aspects of consulting – particularly when representing a government agency.

During my 24 years as a field consultant for BWC I was also often frustrated by the need to record my time and activities and prepare consultation reports using separate scheduling, reporting, tracking and document storage systems. This not only took countless hours away from serving customers, but also made it difficult to locate important customer information and communicate effectively with my peers.

I must admit that when the Division of Safety and Hygiene first started “shopping” for a better activity recording system, my primary focus was on risk management or loss prevention software packages that would allow consultants to list out the hazards they identified and provide recommendations for abating them. I also wanted a system that would allow  consultants to share the great consulting tools and methods that they have developed with their peers across the state. So when a colleague approached me with a variety of customer relationship management (CRM) systems that he wanted to explore, I did not really think they would meet our specific needs. However, once we began talking to various vendors and others in our line of business, it became clear that we could have a system that would not only enhance our technical capabilities but facilitate better customer relationships at the same time.

The system that we ultimately chose, Risk Control Inspection, fits our needs perfectly. It allows us to enter all information in one place at one time, manage our customer relationships more effectively, share our risk assessment tools more efficiently and generate and store correspondence more easily.  In short, it is allowing us to improve the overall quality and consistency of our services.

We all understand that in every type of business and government service, customers demand better, faster, more consistent customer service. We have also learned that providing great service to our external customers also requires managing and maintaining good relationships and communications within our own organization. Fortunately, our new customer relationship management system allows us to do both – and a lot more!

It is truly an exciting time for the Ohio BWC’s occupational safety and health consultants and employer service representatives. We look forward to putting this system to work to provide better service to Ohio employers because better service ultimately helps to keep Ohio workers safe and healthy on the job.

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