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3 Ways You Forget How To Better Your Business

The following is a Best of 360Connext post.

“That’s so interesting!” I hear this over and over when I describe what 360Connext does. In a nutshell, it’s how to better your business.

Here’s the gist, just in case you haven’t heard it:

We evaluate customer experience for organizations interested in understanding the true experience of their customers, not just what they believe it to be. We take a very human, qualitative approach in a process we call Customer Experience Investigation™ ( or CXI®) to help our clients improve the experience, leading to better results.

At that moment, when I’m speaking with a business leader, I can tell if that person gets it or not. Yes, everyone loves a great customer experience as a customer. Yes, we all have horror stories when the companies we’ve entrusted with our business treat us poorly. Yes, yes, yes.

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But the really interesting point is when one of two things happens.

In scenario number one, the business leader begins nodding, perhaps squinting a little, and whispers, conspiratorially, “Our experience needs help. We know it.” The business leader is often stuck. Stuck among the muck of too much process, too many layers, and too many doubters. But if he or she is really leaning in, I know that company has a chance. If someone in a leadership position cares enough to recognize the truth hurts and might be tricky to address, that company is a winner. As long as that leader and others take the steps it takes to better the business.

In scenario number two, there’s still nodding. Then there is usually an adjustment of posture. The leader stands up a little taller, puffs up a bit, and says something like “I can understand why companies need that. Our customers LOVE us, though.”

See the difference? This is about staying connected to what could move your company forward, even when things seem to be going fine.

As companies grow, similar trends occur within an organization.

1. The focus moves from straight-up sales to profitability and efficiency.

Staff is added, roles are more defined, and customers are surprised by new account managers, cashiers, and others.

2. The original team members become uncomfortable with the changes.

The foosball table is replaced with an austere conference table, and the leaders are getting down to business. The original team members who put in long hours because they loved the place they worked begin feeling neglected and resentful. They start trusting clients and customers more than their leadership.

3. Original customers begin wondering “what’s in this for me?”

The charter customers who were willing to put up with a little less formality for the sake of working with the people involved suddenly realize they are left adrift, with nary a thank you. It’s no fun doing business with the organization any more, because they are pretty much offering what others are now. It’s time to shop around for price.

I’ve been on both sides of this coin.

It’s painful in a lot of ways. As a customer, it hurts to be neglected or ignored after investing your own loyalty in a brand you believe in. As a leader, it’s challenging to see these changes happen to a beloved organization. But growth is good, right? Growth equals success in business.

The leader in scenario one recognizes that growth can be painful and bumpy. That leader will start investing in how to better the business by pulling back the curtain and seeing the reality of the situation. Leader number two will continue to believe it’s all going fine, growth is the best outcome regardless of how you get there, and wake up one day in an organization he or she can’t believe they helped found.

What do you think of your leaders? Do they see the truth? What if the truth hurts?

Image credit: Michael-Albert Herrera via Creative Commons license

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