Impact on Organizational Structure
Typically, the initial structure of a company consists of the business owner and one or two employees. An increasing number of customers encourages companies to layer structures over structures, departments over departments, until inevitably the company must reorganize its structure.
The organization of a company doesn’t depend necessarily on the number of employees, but on the specialization of employees. There are business schools that prepare people to be the managers of companies, accountants, or experts in international financial affairs. There are also schools that prepare people to be front-office assistants, engineers, or human resource experts. All of these specializations are required to fill the structure of a company. These specializations developed in order to fulfill the demands of customers and to manage the expanding market.
Besides the top level of any company (consisting of the business owner and the top managers or the board of the company), there are two departments inside a company that must be strongly connected and aware of each other: the data management and customer service departments. While data management collects numbers and statistics on the consumers’ behavior, customer service interacts directly with the clients. A company can have many specialists at the top levels, but if it neglects these crucial subordinate levels, it fails as a business.
The structure of a company that has direct contact with clients is the subordinate level – the employees of everyday jobs, such as cashiers, baristas or waiters. When the company’s principles don’t translate down to the employees, then the company cannot deliver efficient customer service. The subordinate employees react to the clients’ insights immediately; before those insights reach the top management, who can analyze and create a strategy based on the received insights, the subordinate employee has already interacted with the client. Thus, companies that don’t invest in their employees have an unstable foundation and can easily fall.
Within the company, customer care impacts the management and employee levels. On the other hand, customer care also impacts the expansion of a company and its business partnerships.
When a company has a partner, the reputation of the company will affect its partners as well. In turn, the reputation of the partners reflects back on the company. A good reputation must be maintained across all levels of business interaction.
Good customer service can influence a company to expand and require more departments. If we look at a possible scenario in which the clients from one location increase the company’s visibility and popularity across borders, that company will soon have to create new structures, which will include the customers from the new locations.
The story of the Nike brand, currently managed by Mark Parker, is an amazing example of how company structure changes over time due to client demand. The Nike company was initially called “Blue Ribbon Sports” and was created by an athlete named Phil Knight and his coach, Bill Bowerman. The company first functioned as the distributor of a Japanese shoemaker, selling shoes out of Phil Knight’s car. Their office was literally just the back of a car.
In their first year, they sold over 1,000 pairs of shoes, and demand was increasing. They began to hire employees, and two years later, “Blue Ribbon Sports” opened its first retail store. Their sales continued to increase as more customers were attracted to the design of the shoes. At present, Nike is one of the largest sportswear providers in the world, with stores open worldwide including the USA, Europe, the Middle East, Asia and Africa.