A three part commitment to clients — “Tell The Truth”
1. Research properly
All market research and business intelligence projects will be under the supervision of a qualified researcher. All market research projects will be carried out under the ESOMAR code of professional conduct and the supervisor, who must be an member of a recognised MR professional body, will take personal responsibility for compliance. In all business intelligence projects, Hyderus will give the client a written explanation of what will be researched and how. We will explain to clients which data will come from publicly-available data, which from attributed sources and which from interviews where respondents are guaranteed anonymity. We will always tell clients that all of our work can be audited by an independent third party, at additional cost.
2. Give honest recommendations
Hyderus will report its findings and it conclusions without considering whether they fit the client’s preconceptions. We won’t just report reams of data; we will say what we think it means for the client’s strategy and plans and we will give our point of view clearly so that we can be held to it. We will give the best recommendations without thinking about the impact on our future business. When we present findings or recommendations as slides, we will make sure that we leave a clear written report as well. When we cannot find information or do not know what it means, we will say so. When stakeholders or other interviewees tell us things that do not fit our view of a situation, we will pass on the dissenting perspectives.
3. Explain clearly
Complicated issues require careful analysis but a good consultant should always be able to explain conclusions and recommendations in language that will make sense to an informed general reader or, indeed, a senior member of management who does not know have specialised knowledge. To make sure that we always do this, Hyderus has set up a team of expert writers who will help to develop the house style and to make sure that every team member implements it well. The experts include a provocative columnist for Salon, the pioneering American news site, and a former editor of one of India’s largest daily newspapers.
Three points where other consultancies fail
1. Bad research
Many companies have tried to expand from their core business describing themselves now as “strategic consultants” or in one case as “a trusted adviser” but they may not know how to research a problem or an opportunity properly. “We were shocked to find out that even our biggest competitors, such as McKinsey and Boston Consulting Group, do not routinely make experienced market researchers or business intelligence specialists part of project teams working on fact-finding. We have spoken to McKinsey interviewees who were led or even cajoled into agreeing with the consultant’s pre-defined opinions” Chataway said. Public relations companies are trying to do market research as well and are straying into the historical territory of management consultants — the world’s oldest PR agency, Hill & Knowlton, for example, now describes itself as “H+K Strategies.” As well as the more familiar work of “creating media channels designed to offer 35 year old women a more seductive coffee moment” its website claims H+K can provide “senior council [sic] and planning.”
2. Glossing the truth
The second failure point is usually deliberate: consultancies try to tell customers what the customer wants to hear or, worse, what is most likely to create further business for the advisers. “We are quite often approached by clients who ask us to assess a risk to reputation or to the client’s permission to operate. The honest answer is often that the risk is small: the client should practise watchful waiting and needs a reliable system to monitor future risks themselves. This answer is much less profitable for us than screaming panic and charging lots of overtime,” said Chris Nial, Director of Project Management for Hyderus.
Apparent conflicts of interest affect trust in the whole consulting sector. For example in November 2011, The Guardian reported that one consultancy was advising at least two of the sides in negotiations over the re-structuring of the National Health Service in England.
3. Writing badly
Finally, consultancies cannot or will not explain things clearly. “Frequently, they lack the analytical and writing skills to explain what they know,” says Tania Lal, a Hyderus consultant. “Most MBAs never learn to write a coherent narrative,” she added. Sometimes, consultancies try to over-complicate things or to make the client think that an issue can only be understood with the help of advisers. An example of the former comes from a recent case study by the Oliver Wyman Consultancy: “the work identified alternative combinations for differing customer segments to increase offer take rates by 5 to 10 percent by focusing offers on the highest perceived value elements,” says the website.