I hate bringing up this brand always as an example but they do a lot of things right.
The short lesson from this article about Apple’s retail experience is that if you want people to have a consistently good experience with your store, you must CONTROL everything. No element of your store’s experience should be left up to a random element of choice as decided by an hourly employee.
A 2007 employee training manual lays out the A-P-P-L-E “steps of service” with an acronym of the company name: “Approach customers with a personalized warm welcome,” “Probe politely to understand all the customer’s needs,” “Present a solution for the customer to take home today,” “Listen for and resolve any issues or concerns,” and “End with a fond farewell and an invitation to return.” It is reportedly still in use today.
Freedom comes on the other side of control. Question is, how are we controlling the experience in our stores?
The idea behind the New Normal is quite simple: ‘We’re halfway there’. The New Normal is about all things we call ‘digital’, and in the digital revolution we’re probably only halfway there. That means we have as much journey ahead of us as we have behind us.
In The New Normal Peter presents how companies may address a society without digital limits. Quite poignantly, Peter points out that organizations are increasingly faced with customers and consumers who no longer tolerate limitations in terms of pricing, timing, patience, depth, privacy, convenience, intelligence. A number of new rules will apply in the New Normal. Consumers will have zero tolerance for digital failure. They will expect to get internet access anytime, anyplace. Internet and connectivity will be just as ubiquitous as electricity. Consumers will demand fulfillment of their information needs instantaneously. The effect on companies will be tremendous. They were just getting used to coping with an 24 hour economy, and now they will have to cope with the ‘experience economy’: customers will demand interaction with providers of services and products on their conditions. They will expect the digital user experience to be easy and interesting. Every interaction with a customer must be viewed as a ‘make or break’ moment for the relationship with the customer. IT departments too will have to adopt a new way of working. They will have to react more flexible to the demands of the business side of the company. IT-departments were used to build big systems, now they will have to create small, flexible structures that can be adapted quickly. They no longer have to build pyramids, they must put up tents instead. In The New Normal, Peter Hinssen looks at the way companies have to adapt their information strategy, their technology strategy, their innovation strategy and the way they are organized internally. This book is an interesting read for any manager who is concerned with the future of his company as it is hit by the digital revolution. (via Peter Hinssen.com)
In his annual letter to shareholders, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos explains why his company continues to re-invest in technology.
Random forests, naïve Bayesian estimators, RESTful services, gossip protocols, eventual consistency, data sharding, anti-entropy, Byzantine quorum, erasure coding, vector clocks … walk into certain Amazon meetings, and you may momentarily think you’ve stumbled into a computer science lecture.
Look inside a current textbook on software architecture, and you’ll find few patterns that we don’t apply at Amazon. We use high-performance transactions systems, complex rendering and object caching, workflow and queuing systems, business intelligence and data analytics, machine learning and pattern recognition, neural networks and probabilistic decision making, and a wide variety of other techniques. And while many of our systems are based on the latest in computer science research, this often hasn’t been sufficient: our architects and engineers have had to advance research in directions that no academic had yet taken. Many of the problems we face have no textbook solutions, and so we — happily — invent new approaches…Read full article.
All the effort we put into technology might not matter that much if we kept technology off to the side in some sort of R&D department, but we don’t take that approach. Technology infuses all of our teams, all of our processes, our decision-making, and our approach to innovation in each of our businesses. It is deeply integrated into everything we do.