Every day, each hour, every minute, even as you read this right now, our customers (or users) are experiencing their moments of truth in our digital products and solutions. This is true for any software, but in particular for SaaS products.
Consider this: Every login, every landing page thereafter, every data lookup and manipulation, every process, every import and export, every API call, every diagram – these are all moments of truth that will leave a lasting impression with our customers. Will it be positive or negative? Will their continuous use of our software energize them or exhaust them?
To win our customers, and more importantly, to receive their long term loyalty, we must deliver the absolutely best product and experience. We must seek to create the most relevant features with the most frictionless interaction, realized through the best experience designs, solution models and programming. We must work in unison, with shared mission and purpose, with professionalism, undivided from field of expertise, department, role, responsibility or egos.
For a long time I kept asking myself: This seems obvious, so why is this not happening? Why are many software companies and IT consultant companies, so full of well-educated and experienced talent, so often struggling with achieving great collaboration, great results and great products?
A few indicative problems:
- Technology companies are often divided and it runs deeper than most would think at first glance. The Business professionals and the Technology professionals do not work as well together as they should.
- Technology companies lack tradition of cultivating customer orientation throughout the organisation. Instead, many technology organizations have a tradition of placing the responsibility of Customer or User interaction and experience with a few User Experience and / or Service Designers. For the rest of the technology professionals, performing the function of project management, architecting software and developing software, customer service and orientation is not considered part of the job description.
- The core values of the organization are not integrated into the organisation. They are not regarded outside the biennial company offsite and they are not mapped into the everyday work of the employees.
Essentially, tech companies lack tradition for truly unifying the efforts and culture of their employees and this can bring significant negative effects. They believe they do, but often they do not.
Traits of companies that achieve excellence are:
- A culture of interest in customer or user, regardless of the job function
- Alignment in goals for the products – what is said and what is done align
- Choices are made based on values or goals of the organization
- Unwanted behavior is addressed (microaggressions, bigotry, sexism)
- They are diverse
With 22+ years of experience in the tech industry I have seen the sad result of this lack unification too often in different contexts – the products are good, but not excellent. They work, but they don’t WOW. Customers sign up, they are happy – but not without frustration.