• Got Hive?

    by  • November 18, 2011 • Customer Experience

    There are so many different ways for organizations to structure themselves – silos, dandelion, lines of business, industry orientation, hub and spoke, and others. But how does the structure of an organization affect the customer experience? That is one of the questions I am looking at and came across a fascinating article by Chiku Malunga titled The Beehive As A Model Organization.

    Malunga describes the hive as one of the most ‘effective’ organizations in existence. How bees come together for the social good in ways that move the organization forward including taking care of the queen, producing food for the group, and constructing and repairing the hive as models for organizational effectiveness the potential to be a great foundational ideas for how companies organize around and for the customer.

    Malunga lays out seven factors that organizations can learn from bees. All of these factors are also applicable to how organizations structure themselves and then interact with customers. What can we learn from bees that apply to customer experience?

    • Focus and concentration: When it comes down to it, every organization is probably really good only at a couple of things.  For excellent organizations, one of those has to be the customer experience.
    • Leadership: Leadership is key, and the leader has to be the customer. When the customer is actually present or there in the form of a persona, they point the direction forward for the organization.
    • Structure: Not every person in an organization has to have direct contact with the customer, but everyone has to keep support of the customer at the forefront of their efforts.
    • Internal relationships: It may take a while for teams and organizations to come together and develop a rhythm, but they all have the same goal and support each other in achieving that goal to the benefit of the whole organization.
    • Self-development: As an organization matures, the level of knowledge about the customer should become deeper. The organization needs a process to continue its self-development to match the changes in the customer.
    • Sustainability: Just because customers are the center of the effort doesn’t mean that an organization should keep every customer if it costs more resources to keep the customer then the benefit of that customer.
    • Relationships with stakeholders: Your primary relationship that we are talking about is your relationship with your customers. The key is adding value to both sides of the experience.

    If you are looking for a new way, especially with including social media into how you service and work with your customers, then adopting some of the ideas around how bees work may prove useful.

    Question: Which of these are most applicable for your organization?

    Bottom Line: Bee hives provide an interesting model for customer experience. What can you learn from the bees?