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You Only Thought You Were the Customer

Imagine you just moved into a new apartment and your house warming party is on Saturday, the day of the big game. You need a broadband line for TV (and Internet and phone) service. Fortunately, your local ISP has a great scheduling app you can access from your smart phone. Friday afternoon between 1:30 and 4:30 seems like a good window because it will minimize lost office time. Two clicks and your appointment is set!

Fast forward to Friday night at 6:00 p.m. and you realize no one will be watching the big game at your new home tomorrow. The Installation Technician never showed up. Of course you are outraged. “Doesn’t he realize I am the customer?”

Therein lies the rub. At Midwest Internet Services (MIS) you are NOT the technician’s customer.

The Installation Technician works in the Network Services silo. Their “customer” is the sales division from which you ordered your service. Since the Tech is not answerable to you, the consumer, he is more concerned about the budget goals of his primary customer – the Installation Supervisor.

Sound ludicrous? At MIS (fictitious name for a real company), these types of decisions happened regularly.

No one set out to create a customer-hostile system at MIS. The company expanded over the years through both organic growth and acquisitions. Functional fiefdoms evolved. No one at a senior level was responsible for the value chains that delivered services to the consumer. Most directors, managers and supervisors hit their targets every quarter and received handsome bonuses…but customer satisfaction plummeted.

Moral of the Story: If you want to be customer-centric, your organization must operate in a way that allows employees to collaborate across silos. It’s a win-win-win solution.

Paul King

Click here for a fuller version of the MIS story and BPM solution.

For tips on improving cross-functional collaboration, go to our Silo Busting page.

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