the voice of the customer may be the best mechanism to drive change in sales marketing and support operations

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This story was originally published on June 30, 2018, and is brought to you today as part of our Best of ECT News series.

Before I was a parent, I was a youth leader for high school-age young people. As individuals, they had unique personalities, skills and stories, but one thing that was universal was the effect that parental communication had on them. Whether it was a criticism, a suggestion, or merely a bit of information that might prove helpful, the teens tended to look down on it, or even become hostile toward the person delivering the message.

As a youth leader, I found that I could provide the same criticism, suggestion or information and it would be received in an entirely different way — with consideration, respect or enthusiasm. The difference was that the teens saw me as an adult peer rather than a parent. (This is something I’ve filed away for the future when my own daughter starts to exhibit this behavior.)

In superior/subordinate relationships, subordinates often develop negative feelings over time. Part of that is natural — as with the persnickety teens above — as we attempt to assert our individuality. Part of it may be the result of poor prior experiences with authority. Part of it may owe to emotional immaturity and inappropriate reactions to having one’s ideas challenged. In any event, most of us can recall a time when our own issues caused us to push back against the advice or orders of others.

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Lost Opportunities

In a CRM context, that tendency can directly endanger efforts to improve sales, support and marketing.

A sales manager who suggests new strategies, unveils new territories, or even merely encourages the sales staff to use CRM may encounter significant pushback.

In the support world, efforts to coach agents may be met with skepticism and even hostility by agents who feel they’re already doing their best.