Value Demand vs Failure Demand

Familiar with systems thinking?

What’s the worse waste of a salesperson’s time?

There are traditionally two sources of extreme wastefulness:

Coming second on a deal. Post-sale customer service fire-fighting.

They’ve been stand-out traumas for aeons. Nowadays a third nudges these.

Latter-day technological capability has seen compiling irrelevant reports and unnecessary records of activity for management as a rising shame.

Let’s concentrate on the instance of having to get involved with a client after they’ve ordered. I’m talking about in an operational capacity. Other delivery and service colleagues should now be on the ball, yet you’re called in. Repeatedly and at length.

Systems thinking is a branch of organisational design that distinguishes between two types of ‘demand’; value & failure. The originator of these terms provides a definition;

“[failure demand is] caused by a failure to do something or do something right for the customer”

It produces waste.

To remove the debilitation from such waste, systems that are set up where first contact tends to route, check or screen really need to morph towards a state of ‘how can I resolve this myself, and now’.

If you’re getting sucked in to an ever faster spinning whirlpool of failure demand once you’ve sold, then there are some tricks you can apply.

Clearly, certain themes may emerge from analysis of commonplace queries. In addition, end any split of back and front office, ensure those with expertise man first point of call and empathise with customers and why they may be chasing you. One more pointer is that you can find that it is the smallest of things that trigger the biggest hiccups.

There’s a good English public sector example from The Independent. If you don’t find these pressure points and change your systems accordingly, then you won’t get the value demand you crave. That means no requests on new product, re-orders or anything to do with future business whatsoever.

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