The Cookie-Cutter Stigma
Nathan Teahon, director of operations defends the Cookie-Cutter approach
By Nathan Teahon
Have you ever noticed that there isn’t a lot of love out there for the good ol’ "cookie-cutter" approach? If you aren’t familiar with that consensus, try Googling it. Trust me; many make it seem like the scarlet letter of business practices, like having a standardized and efficient process surely means that the business can’t be flexible, pliable, or any other bendy word that suits your fancy. Surely a company that has an organized system in place can’t also be creative.
Successful franchises everywhere utilize cookie-cutter approaches. It’s one of the major keys to their success. Everyone knows the McDonalds story how they catapulted to success with their processes, but look at a franchise like a Jimmy John’s. Yeah, their sandwiches are amazing and their day-old bread is to die for, but the reason they are successful is that they have a cookie-cutter approach that every one of their franchises utilizes to allow them to have subs so fast you’ll freak. And if you’ve never been inside of one, please do. Then look around and read the walls and see how fun and creative they are.
The call center industry isn’t any different. Having good processes in place is key to be being efficient. We outsource a lot of programs to different call center partners, but it’s our cookie-cutter approach that allows us to accept and setup programs quickly for our partners. Our goal is to make the lives of our call center partners as easy as possible, so when they get a new program from us, the details, the scripting, the layouts are all going to look familiar so they aren’t starting from scratch every time a program comes from us.
That doesn’t mean that we are unbending, unyielding, or inflexible (unfortunately unflexible isn’t a word). Having a cookie-cutter approach to certain processes doesn’t mean that you have to be any of those things. We pride ourselves on being flexible and customizable for our clients, and do everything we can to drive that direction for our clients. A cookie cutter approach can live harmoniously with the flexibility of customization. It just means leaving familiar alone and not having to start from scratch every single time. Start with the cookie-cutter and change it from there. Morph it, build it, strip it down, whatever you need to do to customize the program enough to make it successful, but don’t reinvent the wheel every time if you don’t have to. If you develop a process that works and is efficient than you should use it and not start at the bottom every time. When we start a new program or bring on a new client we want as much as possible to be familiar to our call center partners so it ensures a smooth set up for the program, not to mention more efficient.
When it is all said and done, good processes rule the day. Don’t be afraid of a good cookie-cutter approach. The stigma associated is slanted to make us feel that it drains creativity. That is only valid if you let it. Besides, how can anything associated with cookies be negative?