The peril of stasis

When considering how to infuse the customer’s experience into your business it’s important to recognize that the corporate culture is likely the biggest challenge you will face. To design and implement a process that digitally represents the end to end experience of the customer is the easy part. You begin by empathizing with the customer and mapping their journey through their engagement with your company. It’s a fun exercise and a humbling one. Everyone should do it for it focuses the mind and steels the resolve. It brings teams together and it raises their collective heart rate when the realization dawns of how far the company is falling short in ensuring the customer’s experience is as friction-less as it can be.

Addressing the inhibitors that are revealed by that journey mapping exercise is something else entirely. That’s when the corporate culture often presents formidable obstacles to significant change. I think this is because many corporations suffer from a condition known in evolutionary biology as punctuated equilibrium. Assuming that you need an assist with that one… punctuated equilibrium is a theory suggesting that once something appears in the fossil record it becomes stable and shows little evolutionary change thereafter. Doesn’t that sound like how Sales, Marketing, Service, and Support have worked side by side like well-oiled and independent machines, doing their own thing while barely casting a glance at each other for probably close to one hundred years now?

If we want to have processes that reflect the customer’s journey why don’t we design them so they cross organizational boundaries and are bound by timed steps? Why doesn’t the Marketing to Sales lead management process include a timer to ensure that Sales takes action against the Marketing qualified leads? When Sales closes a deal why do we allow the deal to be booked when they haven’t inputted all the critical details about the customer’s goals into the account record? Why doesn’t the action that formally closes the deal in the CRM also kick off an onboarding step, which too is timed so that Customer Success is held accountable for taking action? Finally, why aren’t all these steps linked together so that no one gets paid for success until the customer receives value?

Maybe the answer to all these questions is because corporations suffer from punctuated equilibrium.

About Peter Armaly
I get jazzed by automation, big data, and blockchain tech. Business, technology, and fitness are things I understand. Scotch, wine, food, and fiction are things I appreciate.

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