Risk and the The Way Things Are Done

What about risk?

Risk is a topic that every company committed to customer experience must consider. Risk is also, in my opinion, an unjustifiably popular board game, but that’s a topic for another blog entry. Any company that commits to improving their customers’ experiences will have to change The Way Things Are Done. TWTAD (trademark pending on the acronym) often seems like the enemy. Many times, it is the enemy of customer experience. That being said, in order to get an organization to change, the change agent must understand why things are done the way they are today.

TWTAD did not emerge from the sea, fully grown and looking for a CX project to kill. These processes and procedures were created by people, with specific goals in mind. Those goals were not to obstruct customer experience professionals. Those goals were, generally speaking, to minimize risk to the company while maximizing profits.

When confronted with TWTAD, the serious customer experience professional starts with the question “why”. One of the most dangerous assumptions CX professionals make when joining a new organization is that a policy that gets in the way is the wrong policy. Oftentimes this is true, but many times it is not.

By asking “why” and getting to the root of a troublesome policy or procedure, the CX professional achieves two goals. First, it may become clear that the policy is outdated and can be changed, or that the policy’s goal can be achieved in a less obstructive way. Secondly, the CX professional gains organizational credibility.

By seeking to understand the difficulties that other departments face from day-to-day, CX slowly becomes the department that understands the entire organization at a high level.

This organizational credibility is critical when advocating for difficult or unpopular CX projects. The CX professional’s great idea usually creates work for other people, and those people must not only understand why, but respect the goals and professionalism of the department as a whole.

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This “why” approach is especially critical when it comes to customer communications. Customer communications contain proprietary and personal information. Failing to protect that information can cost the company dearly in both lost customers, bad publicity, and heavy fines.

By engaging with the people that understand these risks early and often, asking “why”, and building credibility, the customer experience professional can help his organization build a better customer experience without having to fight the dread beast TWTAD.

Originally published at gmc.net.

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