Many business problems that negatively affect Customer Experience have their roots in the siloed nature of an organization. A business often sees itself as a collection of departments, while a customer experiences it as single supplier, provider or brand. Early CRM initiatives promised to fix this problem, but very soon they limited themselves to aggregating and managing front office processes, giving up on the rest. The fragmentation of business processes, KPIs and data flows is a very serious problem that is difficult to resolve because it is ingrained in core human behaviors, which precede corporate environments or any customer experience discipline. Today we measure our personal security by the importance of the knowledge we possess and our ability to control information in our domain.
Few years ago I was contracted to reduce the sales cycle of a very new and technically complicated enterprise software. The optimization of pre-sales support processes was a challenging project. The proposed solution, if adopted, would have resulted in an outcome of almost 50% cycle reduction. The implementation was swift and successful, and executive management, sales and customer support organizations were excited and eager to adopt. However, order management, fulfillment and QA passively resisted and ultimately suffocated the initiative that would bring millions in additional revenue with an improved profit margin.
Lesson learned—most processes, (and systems used to automate them) are too often engineered to have “masters” (people who benefit from the information flow) and “servants” (people who are expected to enter data and provide information). Knowledgeable people resist the adoption of processes that do not benefit them while reducing their sense of security, and no executive pressure will likely be successful in overcoming their resistance. A process and/or system should be designed in such a way that people want to adopt it. It should have only one “master”, the customer, and no “servants.” Every internal contributor should be compensated for the information they provide in a form of information they want that is provided by other contributors. Mutually beneficial exchange of knowledge, respecting reasonable “gate keeping” practices, turns resisting “servants” into willing partners.