Pacifier close-upIn part 1 of this post, I shared my jury duty experience, where we were all treated like children.  The culture there was terrible and it got me thinking about culture at businesses in general…

What’s imbedded in your culture?

I read a lot on the blogs and LinkedIn forums in our industry, and one culture that I see way too much of is the one where designers and salespeople seem to believe that a majority of customers are out to get them.  Whether it is buyers that steal designs like some robber in the night, or buyers who aren’t honest about budget and lie, or buyers who never call the salesperson back like disrespectful child-like jurors – the rant is usually a mile long on the horrible personalities of buyers these days.  And there are a shocking amount of people in our industry who write as if they really believe this.

The strange thing to me is that personalities haven’t changed much over the years.  There are entire books about the “typical” personalities we all run into over the average course of a day.  Selling is, and always will be, dealing with those personalities in the most effective manner.

So which is the more reasonable scenario?  That buyers have all of the sudden developed entirely new personalities since the market crash, making it that much more challenging to sell?  Or, that what’s really developed is an unhealthy viewpoint towards buyers since the market crash (because other factors have made it so challenging to sell)?

Worldviews can ruin your customer experience

If your worldview revolves around your audience (i.e. buyers) as a negative entity in any shape or form, you’re 100% guaranteed to have a culture that has morphed into something unhealthy.  And that, in turn, is 100% guaranteed to get in your way of becoming more successful.

Negative viewpoints have a way of creeping into everything you do: the way you talk, the way you interact, how you follow up, and ultimately how your team sells.  Pay attention to the justifications you and your team use for negative viewpoints about your customers.  What business rules have you created because Sally stole Kevin’s designs last year?  Do you now require an abnormal amount of money upfront because one customer two years ago defaulted on their payment?

In other words, did you react, or did you truly notice a trend that required a new business process?

Unintended cultures aren’t always a good thing

An unintentional culture is one that usually starts off with good intentions, but then warps over the years.  And, as I reflect on jury duty culture today – where everyone in the building is either a raving lunatic or a child in the throes of a meltdown – I can’t help but think that these cultures were never written down anywhere as an intentional end result.  They just sort of grew like a weed that you can’t quite see until you step back a bit.  Then, once you look around, you’re shocked at how the weed seems to have grown in and out of everything.

If you’re not sure if your culture is unhealthy or not, hire a secret shopper and find out how they describe the experience.  You’ll most likley be surprised.

By the way, you’re not allowed to check email on the computers in the jury waiting room.  Apparently several years ago someone was emailing something “strange” so they block that now – for everyone.

Maybe on my next public service, they’ll give us all a binky.

PS. If they wanted to dramatically improve just one aspect of their poor customer experience, an upgrade to their crappy wireless would do wonders.