Are processes losing your company sales?


If you are losing sales, perhaps it is not that your company is unattractive. Far from it. It’s just that you pong.

“We don’t take cards. We only take cash.” You curse under your breath and drive to the next petrol station almost bordering the one you’ve just left. And guess what? Emblazoned everywhere is evidence that they take Visa, M-Pesa and cash. And you happily fuel, while silently wondering why the former station doesn’t accept cards. Oh well, you surmise. “Their loss.”

Today I want us to look at how an organisation can frustrate and therefore lose a sale because of its processes. The illustration shared demonstrates how payment can be frustrated.

Processes are a necessary evil. We cherish them as organisations but detest them as customers. As Jekyll, we dig into the heels of our organisation’s processes, justifying why they are necessary; but as Hyde, we loathe them, questioning why they are there, frustrated at what they put us through.

That conundrum is even more pronounced today when customers are increasingly getting spoilt for choice and demanding faster service; their choice admonition being, “Isn’t there an app for this?” In fact, there was a time when the launch of a bank app would be news. Today, it’s seen as so last year. (Yawn!)

But this is not about converting all processes into an app. It’s about continually interrogating the organisation’s processes with a view to getting them to facilitate, not frustrate the sale.

Registration is another process that can frustrate the sale. The government is a monopoly. It can drag us kicking and screaming through duplicate requirements for the same purpose- registration. I’m referring here to the submission of personal details, fingerprints and photos for both e-passport and Huduma number registration.

Paradoxically, the former insists on mandatory online registration and the latter would have none of that. But even a government can frustrate a sale with its processes as I recently experienced with Unclaimed Financial Assess Authority. When you are made to jump through hoops to claim a small amount, you start questioning whether it’s worth it. Moreover, when the costs you incur in the process are more than the amount you are claiming! And so the unclaimed asset remains unclaimed. And no, it’s not a ‘government problem’.

Banks are notorious for asking you for personal information they already have for every application you make. In fact, it is the banks’ fear-driven processes that continue to see them lose to such innovations as mobile money.

The DVD seller says, “Here. Go watch this movie. I know you will like it. If you don’t, just return it. If you do, come back with Sh50.” In an instant he has assuaged the buyers concerns of risk. A process that does not allow reduction of risk frustrates the sale. What if it fails? What if I look foolish? Fearing both the customer balks, and a sale is lost.

If you are losing sales, perhaps it is not that your company is unattractive. Far from it. It’s just that you pong.

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