Monday, March 3, 2014

Ultimately, What Counts is the Customer's Perspective

Have you ever experienced a time when you placed an order with a company through the company's website and when you call the 1-800 customer support number to follow up on your order, you learn that they do not have any record of your order? The agent puts you on hold for a while to search for your order, reconnects with you only to apologize that he could not assist because another department is responsible. He then forwards your call to the other department. The second agent politely answers your call and greets you. She then ask you the very same seven or so questions as did the first agent. It turns out the second agent could not assist either and had to transfer your call yet to another department. The run-around seems to continue endlessly.

Frustrating, isn't it? This actually happened to me a few years ago and till today, I still remember the experience very clearly as if it happened just yesterday.

Your organization may be structured based on key departments but ultimately, what counts is the customer's perspective of your organization as a whole. To the customer, your organizational structure is less important than the specific outcomes they want to achieve.

Customers are unconcerned about how a service is delivered and instead are only interested in having their needs met (promptly I might add). Your organization may have multiple departments but the customer is only dealing with one organization. It is therefore critical that the left hand knows what the right hand is doing in order to deliver optimal customer experience.

At Pepperdine University as we implement Salesforce CRM, let's step outside and put ourselves in the constituent's shoes for a moment. Acting as the constituent, now turn around and look back into our institution. What do you see? Knowing how we do what we do today, do you see any gaps that may potentially lead to a poor experience? These gaps may exist within a school or it may exist across the institution. What would you do to close these gaps so that our constituents experience the Pepperdine Waves experience that they so deserve?

Let's identify and align key customer-facing processes and the roles needed to support them. As processes are redesigned to be more constituent-centric, let's also ensure that the necessary organizational collaboration is in place to support the cross-departmental processes.

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