Go to just about any business meetup or conference today and you will hear a similar tale of frustration. A once industry-leading company, which had delivered many successful digital projects, fails to meet customer expectations. As a result, many such customers, possessed by the long-standing fallacy that big companies are too big to fail, lose themselves in failed projects.
Big companies, especially digital consulting firms, may feel immune today but be purposeless tomorrow. Do big companies fail to live up to customer expectations because of external factors? The internal world comes to matter more than external influencers when it is about meeting customer expectations. We have a problem: the secret sauce of a company’s size can also be the telltales of failure.
Why do big companies fail?
Big projects fail at an astonishing rate. In fact, 25 percent of technology projects fail outright. Work at big companies rarely happens without some crisis, delays or crushing moments of resentment, but happen it must. It’s not their fault. The management directs the teams to work on their hail-Mary strategies that make no sense to the employees. As a result of the lack in understanding and inspiration, delivery teams in big companies are slow to act, just like how Accenture drowned a $32 million website redesign project with Hertz filing lawsuits. Growth is a double-edged sword. It requires you to build speed and spontaneity in managing your own evolving complexity.
Big companies are so focused on meeting the investment share targets that their leadership management falls prey to vicious bureaucracy, withdraws into silos, and starts managing a big workforce in multiple hierarchical layers. In big companies, people blame each other, shred records, save themselves, and spin off promises, leading to proverbial rubber stamps that create systems for their own sake. What can you expect from such a big company? Motives of political safety, silo mentality, clouded sense of responsibility, missing out innovation, and a Kodak on its path to bankruptcy.
Big companies, long been disciplined about measuring digital usage, try to focus on the technologies ignoring customer experience. Understanding the context of a requirement is key. If your net promoter score is based on an audit supported by the above two reasons, you will eventually perish in the forthcoming days of digital Darwinism.
Customer experience is an emotion that requires companies to weed out the self-serving objectives with sincerity and authenticity. For big companies, customer experience is just another slogan with all the glitz and glamour, fancy display at high-traffic roads, random T-shirts, posters and giveaways plastered all over the office. Big companies have believed that there is a magic gizmo called technology that will help them apply lipstick on a pig. Have you forgotten what Steve Jobs had once said? “You’ve got to start with the customer experience and work back toward the technology – not the other way around.”
Every customer has a unique set of needs and dreams. Usually, big companies fail to understand customer requirements and don’t take full ownership of the value proposition. It’s the attitude and passion that deliver customer satisfaction, not the skill. Big companies? The fallacy has gone. Become big, but don’t lose the company.
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The opinions expressed in this publication are those of the authors. They do not purport to reflect the opinions or views of Techolution or its members.