How many times in your career have you heard, “Hey, we’re doing blah blah blah for customers. Can’t they cut us some slack? They can if they choose, but most customers choose not to show any consideration to sellers. After all, precious few sellers have shown any consideration for them.
So what’s all the babbling about buyer-seller “relationships?” How often do emotions overcome economics and convenience when buyers choose sellers? Rarely, I maintain. Steely-eyed customers evaluate every transaction, subconsciously at least, on all but the simplest exchanges of value. And no matter how many times a seller has done it right, supposedly building up a relationship, don’t screw it up this time seller or you’re toast.
Besides, customers don’t go out on dates. They’re too wary of seller motives.
So let’s pack up all the customer relationship fuzzies into a large trunk and sink it. The whole point for sellers today is doing everything right every time – and don’t depend on past performance to pull you through. Sellers need to keep their steely eyes on performance and be as intolerant of miscues as buyers are.
Can companies with inefficient, even “broken” process successfully go through ISO-certification? Over the years, I’ve encountered a number that have, which answers the question for me. ISO certifies that quality standards are in place, but it’s a poor indicator of how high the standards are and whether they’re the best the company can do. ISO certification also fails to gauge whether process has been designed to optimize customer experience, despite including numerous customer-related standards.
Nevertheless, organizations frequently confuse the two. Any thoughts on why?
If you start reading and suspect my propeller is rotating too fast, be patient (or read the last full paragraph first to get the customer implications).
My colleague and Microsoft “super-partner” Jack Boyer of Boyer & Associates recently interviewed me regarding appropriateness of implementing MS Dynamics AX ERP software suites (including CRM) in smaller than enterprise venues. I happen to believe that AX can be implemented affordably in SME organizations that control configuration costs by limiting customer configuration to critical functionality. Well, apparantly so do the folks in Redmond, because they’ve repeated the post on their partner site.
So why is a customer-centric process designer like me writing a propeller-head post like this?
Simple. Implementing customer-centric process almost always requires replacing older, company-centric technology that can’t bend enough to support new and different process designed to add more value to customers. That’s where Dynamics AX becomes relevant. The “AX” platform supports extreme configurability – but custom-configuring everything under the sun increases implementation costs beyond most SME budget thresholds. Fortunately, SME organizations can control implementation costs by running AX out of the box wherever possible – and saving custom configuration for supporting “customer home run” processes that most systems don’t support out of the box. Restraint is hard, I know. But if that’s what it takes to add new value to customers through properly aligned process and technology, it’s worth it.