How do you draw a line?

You're customer-centric. Your organisation uses Design Thinking. The user comes first. But how deep does that really go?


32st March 2018

by | May 16, 2018 | Business, Opinion

Photo by David Clode on Unsplash
Experience and service design often deal with serious issues which go deep into customers’ lives – their jobs, families, hopes and future. It’s easy to say you’ll be customer centric and stand up for the customer. But what really happens when conflict arises and there’s tension between profit and customer experience?

As a good friend of mine says, what will you die in a ditch for?

What happens when the rubber meets the road? What will you do when a senior figure in your organisation demands a change which goes exactly against what you know for a fact is best for the customer? When you have hard evidence that the customers don’t want or need this and you’re told to do it anyway?

What happens when you’re asked to make a change which will result in profit for the company but friction or disappointment for the customer?

The theory, the fantasy, is that you’ll stand up for what is right. For the customer. You’ll face up to that senior figure squarely and say, I won’t do that. And he’ll scowl, then smile and say, “you got heart kid”, and let you have your way.

But he won’t.

That’s not reality.

In reality he’ll be angry. There will be sharp words. Your manager will take you aside after the meeting. You’ll be in trouble, for real.

You’ll sit and agonise – it’s not a big change. It’s one little thing. Sure it’ll make the customer experience a tiny but worse, but only a tiny bit. Will you let it go? Even when you know that if you let this one go, the next fight will be a little bit harder and people’s belief in the value of what you do will be a little bit less.

If you win, the experience is a tiny little bit better and you get to say you have integrity. If you lose, it’s not going to be heroic and it has nothing to do with courage or guts. You’re going to tell your wife that you lost your job, your promotion prospects, your shared future, over one little thing. You’re not going to get a job at Apple in recognition of your courageous stand or get a reputation for being a defender of customer experience, you’re going to get a reputation for being a problem and a CV which said you got fired.

What will you do when they ask you to do the one thing you always said you wouldn’t?

With all that stacked against you and the best possible outcome being very slight improvement, will you genuinely say, “Thank you but I’d rather take the bullet in the ditch”?

Time will tell if you are right or wrong.

by | May 16, 2018 | Business, Opinion

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