Big is Beautiful – or not?

In support, Big is Beautiful. It’s much easier to schedule and organize tasks if you have a large team. Specialization is costly. If only one or a handful of people can accomplish a particular task, great care is required to ensure that they are available at any one time. Therefore, a good goal would be to have a large team that’s perfectly cross-trained and can handle any kind of issue. Of course, that’s not always realistic since that perfectly cross-trained criteria can be an impossible task, but sometimes big is not the way to go. Let’s explore counter-examples:

  • Bigger is not necessarily beautiful. It’s very handy to assemble a team of 10-20 people with equivalent skills, to be scheduled flexibly, but a team of 100-200 people can easily be divided into more specialized sub-teams if that would be more effective for the business. 
  • Small and personalized can sell. Some customers will pay extra for more personalized service, delivered by one or two assigned individuals who can develop a close knowledge of and relationship with the customer. To avoid issues when the designated contact is off duty, pre-arrange a backup (often through the pool of employees that serve non-premium customers).
  • A dedicated team can provide focus. For key customers, it may makes sense from the vendor’s perspective to assign a team that handles all aspects of the relationship. So this is not a customer request to get premium service, but the vendor’s acknowledgement that a customer is so large and has such special needs that it makes sense to service them separately from other customers. This is a great opportunity to blend services seamlessly, so that the team members can provide support, consulting, and training in a flexible manner.

Are you using processes that go against the Big is Beautiful principle? Please share in the comments

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