Andy Levine is the President and CEO of Development Counsellors International, a firm that has helped over 400 communities better understand the needs of their customers. Andy and his team bring the voice of the site selection consultant and the capital investor to their clients. The programs DCI recommends are built on insights from your customers. I asked Andy for his perspective on how EDOs could deliver better service. Andy’s response reinforced just how creative a thinker he is. He shared his perspective in the form of a story. I think you’ll find the point of Andy’s story to be spot on, and great advice to help you improve your delivered level of service.
Scene from a Cocktail Reception
I recently attended a cocktail reception for a regional economic development group at a well-known New York City restaurant. I observed an instructive exchange between an economic developer and a site selection consultant:
Site Consultant: “I’m working on a manufacturing project right now. Can you tell me what the average cost per kilowatt hour in your community?”
Economic Developer: “I’m not sure. But John Smith from our local utility is on the other side of the room. Let me bring him over.”
Three Minutes Later
Economic Developer: “John, say hi to Sarah. She works with the Acme Site Selection and wanted to know the average cost per kilowatt hour in our region.”
Utility Representative: “Gee, I don’t know the answer off the top of my head. But I can get that number for you. Do you have a business card?”
Site Consultant: “I don’t have one on me. But that’s okay, it wasn’t that important.”
The names have been changed to protect the innocent but this is pretty much a verbatim account of the exchange.
The key takeaway: Know Your Product. And be ready to answer the likely questions that a company or consultant might ask you. You may not get a second chance…