These Culture Problems Are Polluting Your Customer Experience

Betsy Boehm Bland
8 min readJan 5, 2019

Conway’s Law: “organizations which design systems … are constrained to produce designs which are copies of the communication structures of these organizations.”

It’s amazing how much a company’s culture seeps into and shapes the customer experience. If your company fosters a positive culture, employees will go above and beyond to provide a positive experience for your customers. Does your company have great cross-departmental collaboration? Expect remarkably smooth transitions between touch points. A company that has positivity and compassion woven into its DNA (a.k.a. nirvana) sees better customer experiences, loyalty, and financial performance.

And while a positive culture will lead to positive customer experiences, a negative culture will erode your organization from the inside out. Here are some organizational issues that muck up customer experiences and how to address them.


It is easy to go into a leader’s office, ask their opinion, and follow the direction blindly. The leader is only one voice and is often removed from the nitty gritty details of customer problems. And, even if they know them, they are less likely to connect with those customer problems because of their own power. So why do we take their ideas as commands?

Here are some of the reasons I’ve seen this happen:

  • Don’t feel empowered to push back.
  • It’s just opinion vs. opinion (and we’ll lose anyway).
  • Don’t know how to get to customer problems.
  • Assume we know the customer problems without talking to them.
  • Are too overcommitted to make the time to do it.
  • Or the leader’s gut was right once, so we should just go with it.

The list goes on…

How Does It Destroy Your Customer Experience?

Following a HiPPO will rarely lead to great products or experiences. Studies have found that the more power someone has, the less they are able to empathize with others. So if we’re taking direction from a leader that doesn’t understand others, how do…

Betsy Boehm Bland

Product Experience Team Lead and Designer | Mission Driven, User-Focused