Why systems fail

Systems can fail for several reasons.

One is it was built too quickly.

Some businesses that have been around for a while seem to give you a seamless and pain-free experience when dealing with them. Their systems have been honed over time, with the unnecessary steps being taken out. They have the customer’s needs at the forefront of what they do.

This is the pizza shop at Penn Station that has a ridiculously long line, but moves quicker than the trains themselves. The employees there know what their jobs are and do them extremely well.

This is the opposite of the health insurance provider that says you have to go to the hospital first before you can enter into a rehab facility when rehabilitation is the only thing the patient needs.

Another reason systems can fail is because the extra step wasn’t taken.

This is following up with a client to make sure she has everything she needs. By having this conversation, you uncover what you may have left out.

Maybe that tip sheet I sent should have included a little more detail on exactly how to go about thinking through content development.

Still a third way systems fail is when we simply don’t care.

The steps may have been thought about by management and are directed to meet the customer’s needs, but the sales associate having the conversation about which phone should be purchased is underpaid and severely undertrained. He’s not invested in the process, and therefore isn’t going to mind or even understand when a step is missed.

So, if we reverse these three ideas, what we learn is that to make a system work, it should be built with patience, built with the end user in mind, and built with care.

Seems like a pretty good system to work from.

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