Zappos, Apple and Disney . . . some names often mentioned for the great customer experience offered. I am not here to debate whether they are or not. The issue is YOUR service organization should NOT copy any company, process, technology, best practice or anything from another company any time. That means never.
Salespeople will tell you about the standard option or what is hot. Technology salespeople are wizards at this and will say things like “it is best practice” and “everybody uses it this way in the industry.”
You see the problem is what works for another company won’t necessarily work for your organization. Systems thinking tells us that each organization is unique by structure, culture, management thinking, work design, etc. and copying another organization without understanding the differences is to create waste and sub-optimization.
While doing bank management consulting I saw banks copying other banks all the time. The front office, middle office and back office design was copied over and over again. The design in most cases was faulty and they had to have the added expense of buying technology to move things from front to back office making their technology costs sky rocket and their service get worse.
A company that has success, usually has success because of its unique abilities. Copying another organization just makes you a “wannabe.” It is not very original to tell your customers we are just like Zappos, Apple or Disney. In the words of Genie (from Aladdin) . . . “Be yourself.”
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Tripp Babbitt is a speaker, blogger and consultant to service industry (private and public). His organization helps executives find a better way to make the work work. Download free from www.newsystemsthinking.com “Understanding Your Organization as a System” and gain knowledge of systems thinking or contact us about our intervention services at [email protected]. Reach him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/TriBabbitt or LinkedIn at www.linkedin.com/in/trippbabbitt.Share This:
So what you’re saying is, my unique selling proposition should be just that, “unique.” Or should I say my, “unique customer experience?” While there’s value in studying successes (and failures) I agree with you completely. You can’t just rebrand Zappos’ experience and expect it to be your own. Regards, Glenn
Of course, every place is unique. But the nature of systems and processes (i.e., what is discussed in _Social Psychology of Organizations_ by Katz and Kahn) can be compared, and organizational systems and processes are or can be similar, even if the work product and organizational culture is different. It’s as if you are using the term systems thinking only within an organization, and denying the ability to extend systems thinking beyond a single place or organization. Of course: You can’t just rebrand Zappos’ experience and expect it to be your own. At the same time, it is possible to learn from Zappo’s cf. Positive Deviance Theory
Richard: Thanks for the comment. The question isn’t: can it be compared? The question is: should it be? I find organizational learning stops win misguided organizations take advice or copy what is somebody else’s idea, culture, process, etc. The do so without knowledge of their own system. The only way to get organizational knowledge is to go to where the work is being done (for service companies). Understand the what and why of current performance and pull ideas in. Then (and only then) does it make sense to pull ideas, technology, etc. from other organizations to see if it will enhance performance to the customer. Further, I’ll take a shot at benchmarking another form of comparison that can’t allow knowledge to take place. Benchmarking not only is fuzzy (reconciling what we are comparing), but usually involves measurements that don’t matter to the customer. You can compare and most people do, they just shouldn’t . . . without knowledge.