“It’s better to ask for forgiveness, than for permission”

You may have heard this saying now and again, it’s generally used by people that disrupt, or that know a decision they want to make is correct, but don’t have any numbers to drive a consensus. In a world that is becoming more and more data-driven, thanks to increasingly capable Business Intelligence teams, by increasingly available data about users and onsite activity, it could, at least in theory, become more and more difficult to break out of standard procedures and do something new. Or at least TRY something new.

Understandably, if your service and/or product is the backbone of your revenue, taking a risk to try something out of the box can be difficult. Depending on the size of your organization, the number of stakeholders per decision, and the risk associated with a new idea, you may face a lot of pushback. But if nobody tried new things out, the wheel would still be square, we wouldn’t have remote controls without a cable attaching it to the TV, and the internet would be much less valuable as a source of information than it is today.

Push the boundaries, and try new things – Even if it’s a small-scale experiment. You will learn new things, about your service, your customers, their needs, and your ability to adapt. It may well be that this is just the opinion that I have gained, and it is clearly an inherent part of how I work, but no matter how I reflect on it, if done well, there is no negative side to experimentation. Try, learn, adapt, repeat.

An example from my recent experience:

  • Core business uses Salesforce – with a new service and team, we decided to try Front
  • Main target segment (users) doesn’t use social (for Customer Service) – New team is trying Facebook, Twitter, SMS and WhatsApp
  • Core product changes go through Product, Dev, QA, DevOps – New team just gets things done, uses any workaround necessary, and has access to the live DB to make changes if necessary

We’re also using Slack and Trello, with a few integrations to keep people informed, and we’re using a payment provider it would be difficult to change to in our “normal” service proposition.

None of the things the new team does are scalable, and it doesn’t matter. What we are learning is invaluable, for the customers, our partners, how our “booking funnel” is perceived, what the expectations are. Have a roll back plan, or strategy, but please just:

Try, learn, adapt, repeat.

My new mantra for growth and learning how to improve your service/product.

n.b.: This doesn’t mean do it without thinking, thinking is generally a good idea 😉