Good business unit strategy; poor customer experience. What would you do?


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Recently I’ve been talking with executives about customer experience and the alignment of marketing, sales and operations functions. Some report success they have seen driving improvement in this area, while others are clearly frustrated. Consider the comments from this executive, who leads a large customer services function, including a contact center with hundreds of staff. After reading, ask yourself, “What would you do?”

We have perfectly optimized our sales process for new client acquisition and revenue generation. They are decentralized by territories all over the country, which allows them to stay close to prospects and do what it takes to close a sale.

At the same time we have optimized our contact centers by centralizing them. This provides needed cost efficiencies and a consistent approach to callers.

Unfortunately, there was little communication between the two groups. Sales was always making one-off deals and not letting us know about it. When customers would call they were understandably upset as we were trying to treat them all consistently and had no information to do differently.

Everyone had the best of intentions, but…it didn’t build a better customer experience.

Best of intentions, maybe, but in this case 1+1 is less than 2! Each function was optimized for its own business unit strategy, but the combined result was less than optimal.

So what would you do? Your options might include:
• Realign sales compensation to include communication and completion of forms, even if they slow down the activities sales people consider important.
• Reorganize the service operation to more closely support specific territories, and let them do the added work of chasing territory sales people so they know what deals have been cut.
• Invest in more expensive CRM systems, in the hope that you can fix the alignment snafu with technology.
• Accept a lower level of customer experience as long as sales are increasing and operations are holding down costs.
• Shake your head at how crazy everyone else seems to be, and blame the other group or senior management letting it come to this!

And what if you are not the COO or a senior enterprise leader with a magic wand to change everything? What if you were a Director who saw the dynamics unfolding but lacked the authority to make the change across functions? How would you approach the situation now?

What would you do?

BestCustomerConnection, by Marc Sokol

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Marc Sokol
A psychologist with an eye for the ways organizational dynamics make it possible or impossible to delight customers, I see the world from the eyes of customers, employees and leaders who strive to transform customer experience.


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