Seek simplicity in the noise to build your company’s scaffolding
Russian novelist and master storyteller Leo Tolstoy once wisely pinpointed the key challenge in bringing about change: “everyone thinks of changing the world, but no one thinks of changing himself”.
Steve Jobs said; “You’ve got to start with customer experience and work back towards the technology”.
If you ask executives across big brands ‘who owns the customer experience’, the mix-tape of answers should resonate with ‘everyone’ to an extent. If you’re ordering a Extra Large Cup of Experience, who delivers this tall order? What commitment do you show at the point of transaction; how do you make the customer feel? Ok so you’re thinking FFS (For F. Sakes) keep it simple. But you’re probably also guilty of having at some point in your life, been completely upset for hours or days about the way an employee at a business you purchased from, made you feel?
I recall buying a wrap from a juice shop in a mall, and the till-lady knowingly trying to rip me off by withholding N$50 of my change. I knew she knew the moment I told her that my change is short. The fact that she tried to minimise my reaction when I started explaining to her why this is a big problem and detrimental to the reputation of this deli, made me oh so angry. I was disappointed. There was something wrong with the universe that day.
Do we forget that having the fancy titles ‘chief innovation officer’, ‘experience executive’ , ‘creator of legacy’ or whatever you choose – all matters nothing the moment your staff let you down? So obviously this flags reputation risks that we manage via other departments, but still. What then, do customers want to believe of you?
In a fast-paced weightless economy (digital, technology) where you could choose ‘over the top’, we don’t necessarily want to. We need simplicity in the noise. We need peace of mind. So ask yourself whether your ‘right hands’ in business, the ones that co-shape the customer experience and brand legacy, manage to (or want to!); remember client preferences, use and activate customer insight, adhere to consistency in terms of best practice across all channels and branches, give timely and relevant service, and bring trust and a willingness to build ‘deeper connections’ and meaningful relationships over time. We can’t choose our customer (to an extent) but we do carry responsibility in choosing who we connect our customer to.
So when building the scaffolding, look at how aligned your organisation is, how actionable information is, how customer-centric and impactful progress is, and how technology is effectively enabled. Get your team to think differently. And, inspire your team to work from a foundation that effectively works for you in turn. If we want to change the world, let us understand the meaning in first changing self, in first changing the organisation.