Navigating your business ship in the waters of these crazy times is risky. To begin with, navigation cannot be done until you know for certain where you want to go and has to be performed beginning right where you are.
Much as it was in the 15th century, a good part of this navigation is from the old world to the new. We’re in the midst of a major change—a paradigm shift—in the business world, and in many ways, the new world is evolving while the old still exists. We’re in a stage where many former methods no longer work, while new ones are still taking hold.
Rapidity of Change
One of the big problems with the change is in its perception. In the last century, the most significant changes took place over the period of a lifetime, such as the transformation of the horse to the automobile, or the evolution of the telephone, or the evolution from radio to television.
Today, however, changes are much faster. Look at the rapid evolution of the smartphone, for example. In just a few short years, the smartphone has completely revolutionized our lifestyles.
The Digital Mindset
There are, of course, specific skills that are needed to navigate these often uncertain waters. Some think it’s only common sense. Others, though, realize it takes a whole new mindset.
Many still behave as they would in an analog world, instead of the digital world in which we’re actually existing. For example, someone comes to a vendor or consultant with a specific problem. The vendor or consultant asks, “How many employees do you have?”
Looking at this in strictly modern terms, that is a totally inadequate question in gauging the strength of a company. Today, you can have a thousand staff and be completely inefficient. On the other hand, you can have ten employees and be incredibly efficient.
The first “fact check” we can look at for the new world is that everything that can be computerized, is being computerized. This will continue to be the case, and will happen exponentially. Any task that is being performed by a person that can possibly be automated is going to be, if it hasn’t already.
In truth, computers can perform many repetitive-type jobs better than humans. Computers are more efficient. They don’t make mistakes. They don’t become ill. They don’t take vacations. They don’t have personal problems. They never complain. They never tire.
There is a fear that this trend will cause many to lose jobs. The actual fact is, that humans being replaced by automation are being freed up to do tasks that computers cannot do, and should find different careers that are more rewarding.
It takes a forward-thinking mindset to look at a company and understand processes that should be automated and take appropriate actions. Any company that doesn’t proceed this way will eventually become extinct, while others that have digitally adapted will take their place.
This kind of substitution—a company or technology taking the place of another—has been happening since the beginning of time.
At the beginning of the 20th century, many companies based their transport systems around horses. As motor vehicles took over and substituted for the horses, the horses didn’t vanish. They just went onto different uses, such as equestrian activities.
The question is, what is the next substitution for your company? You must be able to see what should be digitized—substituted—and continuously view the way forward for your company.
Right at the heart of digitalization is the concept of “customer-centric.” The customer must be the focal point of a business today. A company that places its stakeholders at the center instead of customers will be replaced by a competitor. The stakeholder is not the one who pays the company’s bills—it is the customer.
Digital processes are aimed at making service faster and better for the customer. A customer won’t remain loyal to any particular company for any other reason than the customer’s problems are solved. When that happens, the customer does remain loyal and provides the company a great reputation through word-of-mouth and positive reviews.
Note that a reputation cannot be controlled any other way. Over the last few years, we’ve seen companies attempt to control a narrative of the public through technical manipulation. That narrative, though, can no longer be controlled, because it is not controlled from the top down. It happens from the bottom up.
We’ve actually seen this “bottom-up” approach—in other words, grassroots—have a tremendous effect on technological innovation. This has happened through the open-source movement. Such a movement cannot be controlled by a mega-corporation. They can only be swept right along with it.
I truly believe that we cannot function through a single system or viewpoint alone. It’s rather like capitalism, socialism, and totalitarianism—by themselves, none of them work well. You’re going to have different groups and viewpoints within a company, and pull in different directions to speak and function in different ways.
But in the end, the common view must be to serve the customer.
Being Ahead of the Change
It is vital that your company is ahead of the change. What does that mean? You need to bring your people together and motivate them to be ahead of the game. They need to be thinking outside the box. If you don’t have enough people doing that, bring more in!
The adoption of newer technologies, in large part, does depend on age. A small startup usually consists of young people, who rapidly take to the latest technology. However, larger companies contain a wide range of demographics from the young to the old. They’re all perceiving and thinking differently.
People need urging. Humans tend to be lazy in terms of change. You’ll find that, for example, at lunchtime, they’re going to the same or similar restaurants and eating similar food. People tend to fall into patterns and resist change. They need to be pushed past their resistance.
This is where leadership comes into play, for it takes leaders to lead people into changing.
Change is vital for progress. If you and your staff don’t focus on change, your competitors will.
In addition to changing your mindset, you must change your processes in the direction of serving the customer.
Systems need to be intelligent and contain all customer data. In this way, we connect the new with the old, as in the old village model where businesses knew all their customers. They knew what customers were seeking, and what they would buy, and what kind of shopping they would do.
Today it can be a very impersonal world. Many things are ordered online, so the system needs to know all about the customer, to make them feel welcome.
In any case, you need to have all customer data, and have it accessible to either automated or human processes.
The System You Need
Without all the data of what the customer has bought, what kind of customer they are, what they like or dislike about your products and services, you’re not going to be servicing the customer but annoying them. Think about times that you, as a customer, have returned to a company and had to provide the same information over and over again. Compare that to someone greeting you by name and simply saying, “Would you like the same thing you had last week?”
Yes, this transition is well in-progress. In the digital world, to make this transformation complete, you need a system that is transparent, easy, adaptable, totally flexible, and rapidly implements. It must be visual because pictures communicate many times faster than words. It is cost-effective. It must provide a 360-degree view of the customer.
All these qualities add up to Pipeliner CRM!