By Simon Fairbairn
Ingenico, a Worldline company
Putting aside the challenge presented by COVID for a few minutes, the pace at which we normally run to deliver on the ambitions of our businesses has never been faster. With each passing year, whenever we take a pause and draw breath, we pinch ourselves and reflect on the fact that we can't maintain this pace and that there is no more gas in the tank to give.
Yet, invariably, each year we pick ourselves up and do just that—pushing on with our work and keeping our marathon going at the pace of a sprint.
However, this obsessive pursuit of profit and growth can be suboptimal, as it leaves little time for the big thoughts or more radical ideas to ferment. Sure, big organizations have management and strategy teams whose job it is to look forward and consider the vision of what comes next.
When we drop several levels down the organizational tree and consider the requisite questions to ask ourselves at the level of one-to-one customer engagement or professional services delivery, have we left enough space to challenge the pervading norms and the settled beliefs of how things should be done?
The focus of most customer engagement is to deliver an exceptional outcome: something sufficiently valued that the question of remuneration is moot and the appetite to repeat the experience is established.
This premise works just as well for the personal service delivered when providing an exquisitely packaged bouquet of flowers, to the launch of a new payment terminal or service that simplifies the payment experience. Do it well, and the relationship is strengthened with both parties better off from the value created and shared.
So again, in a world where we race to the end of the week, do we create (or allow, for that matter) sufficient time to think about and invest in how to become better providers? This is not simply improving or maintaining the quality of what is delivered, but the continuous appraisal of what is in play and a challenge to any, or all, of its relevance.
This is a recurring theme in agile methodology, where we talk about doing what is necessary and efficient. It sounds simple, but it requires time to think and take action.
This challenge is particularly acute with organizations as they get bigger and the necessary bureaucracy to maintain order and control kicks in. Bureaucracy invariably grows from what is necessary into a thing in itself, commanding more oxygen than required and stifling the breathing room for reflection, thought and change.
How many times are we asked to provide reporting on the symptom of a problem we face, with request upon request for data and reports, consuming the very space required to develop understanding of the cause and the path to resolution? It's a common scenario in many organizations when times are tough but the opposite perhaps of what is needed.
This is not a new problem but one that every business wrestles with, and in the payments industry one that is quite relevant. When everything is driven at a frantic pace, and the only view we sometimes see is that looking down the road in front of us, we need to slow down a little, lift our gaze and take a moment to think bigger and challenge what we do. Only then will we genuinely lay claim to delivering exceptional outcomes all of the time.
Simon Fairbairn is head of professional services/EMEA for Ingenico, a Worldline company. Take a look around the new Payments Landscape in this Ingenico white paper with a special focus on the impacts to consumer behavior: www.ingenico.com/payment-landscape-new-normal. To reach Simon, please email email@example.com.
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