Staple Yourself to an Order

In 1992, I read a Harvard Business Review article entitled, Staple Yourself to an Order by Shapiro, Rangan and Sviokla. This article has stuck with me through the years. I’ve recommended it to my colleagues and clients as something to consider when talking about improving their customer experience. The article focuses on a company’s order management system as the key to ensuring a superior customer experience.

I recently re-read the article and found some interesting quotes!

• “The executive who wants to delight customers and thereby grow the top line is apt to think big: Invent a breakthrough product; provide and extraordinary service…. yet to most senior executives the details of the order management process are invisible.”

• “It’s fashionable today to talk of becoming “customer oriented”. Or to focus on that moment of truth when customers experience the actual transaction that determines whether or not they are completely satisfied. Or to empower front-line workers so they can delight the customer with their initiative and spunk”.

• ‘Managers who “staple themselves to an order” will not only move horizontally across their own organization, charting gaps and building information bridges, but will also see the company from the customer’s perspective.”

Over 25 years ago and aren’t we still trying to accomplish the same objectives with our CX strategies and initiatives? Engage our employees. Find the gaps in the process and improve them. Breakdown organizational barriers and eliminate silos. Focus on moments of truth. I once told an audience of senior executives that they should staple themselves to an order. A gentleman stood up and said, “I build large construction equipment, how am I supposed to do that? Order a bulldozer?”. My answer was, yes! But a better option might be to track a customer’s order through the entire order management process – today we call it journey mapping – to determine what’s going right and what’s going wrong.

So, I’d encourage all of us to take a stroll down memory lane and read this article. And consider how far we have or haven’t come with our CX strategies. Could we make improvements with something as simple as stapling ourselves to an order? I’d be willing to try it! How about you?

Robert Azman2 Comments