August 29, 2015

A manual override


The more we can do on our own, the more we like it. Doing things on line, buying tickets at the machine, self service everything. When it works, no fuss no muss, all is good with the world.

When we need reassurance, or guidance, or have to navigate in unfamiliar waters … there better be a human to hold our hand and make things right. And all is still good with the world.

The real test comes when we don’t fit the model, or the system breaks – and hand holding just leads us to the same brick wall.

What then?

You can blame the system, leave customers hanging, tell them to go elsewhere, leave them to find their own way home (to another vendor?), send them into phone queue hell, keep hitting the same buttons hoping for a different result.

You, your colleagues down the hall, your customers, your staff, everyone hates a system that can’t be bent into reasonable shapes.

Step 1: Build a perfect system that handles every angle.

Step 2: Accept perfect is impossible so build a manual override with a well labeled service hatch and tools in easy reach.

Step 3: Prepare to pull on some overalls.

Skippy Strategy: Every system needs a manual override. Engineer out the need, engineer in the option.