“It depends on the context” is a response we often hear when we ask certain questions. While some people rush to provide answers, others wait and ask the right questions first; and the difference between former and the latter lies in the recognition of why context matters. Context can be defined as a discourse that surrounds a situation and can shed light on its meaning. 

When it comes to serving customers, contextualization can take a wide variety of forms. In the physical world, it is about serving the needs of individual customers. On digital channels, technological innovation has led to comprehensive reinvention of the operating model as the cost of creating tailor-made experiences continues to decrease. 

Contextualization is the act or process of putting information into context; making sense of information from the situation or location in which the information was found. In other words, there is no one size fits all. This is especially prominent in the business-to-business (B2B) field. And as B2B organizations shift their attention from products to industry expertise in an attempt to drive innovative customer service, listening and inquiry skills have become indispensable. 

If human capital consulting and learning solutions are to be contextualized, then the content will depend on the results of the diagnostic led by the consultant, or that the client organization has already conducted. 

The step-by-step approach to this is as follows:

1. Understanding the Why: 

During the first step of a diagnosis, a consultant should seek to understand the “Why” behind the intervention. This can be achieved by answering questions such as:

  • Why now? 
  • What is this project imperative?
  • What are the expected results?

2. Aligning with Key Stakeholders

This step includes identifying the key stakeholders who will provide you with the needed information and organizing focus groups to collaborate with during the strategy and implementation phases. 

3. Designing the Contextualized Solutions

Based on the information gathered in the first two steps, consultants can create a solution that addresses the specific needs of the organization.

While the above mentioned three steps may seem systematic and attainable, many consultancy companies, especially those with a large-scale customer base are still resorting to more generic solutions. 

Why? The answer is simple: Contextualization requires more time and effort.

Contextualizing requires listening, empathy, business acumen and the ability to collaborate with the stakeholders as a member of their own organization. Nonetheless, not every consultant is willing to go the extra mile and to support during the implementation phase. 

Based on our experience at ighcc, contextualizing has been a mantra of our L&D professionals and consultants ever since the company was established. While most people actually use contextualization the same way as customizing, the fact is that contextualizing requires a much more in-depth partnership with the client to really comprehend where the organization is heading and where they stand today with respect to human capital management.

This approach can save time and money, while maximizing the potential to deliver highly relevant and meaningful solutions.

In a contextualized approach, solutions are offered through proven, tested, and effective methodology while integrating add-on elements that provide organizational relevance, such as:

  • Specifically selected case studies based on real life examples 
  • Selective custom practice scenarios
  • Manager toolkits to encourage ongoing application and reinforcement
  • Communication strategies to encourage cascading down the information 
  • Check-points to check progress on action plans

It is no surprise that there is a great gap in customer experience between solution providers and transactional sellers in product management. To mitigate that,  solution-selling companies should resort to contextualization that leads to an array of benefits for the provider and client both.  Getting much closer to the customer leads to innovative solutions armed with insights from stakeholders within the organization, thus enabling the consultancy company to double its success rate for new projects. 

This means that we are not just executing a new system but rather stringing together an ecosystem of talents and capabilities and integrating them with business processes in a proactive manner that allows the organization to be ready for any potential issues that may arise in the future.

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