Building Character. One Crisis At A Time.
The women’s hockey team was eating lunch. Two men try to verbally harass some of the players. One big slap and a subsequent Bollywood fight scene ensue, ending in a united team, that otherwise was divided by personal egos and regions.
This would have been another SRK melodramatic movie if this had not been so true in business. Crisis brings the urgency of collective action. Act, else everyone loses. Nothings unites like a good crisis.
We at Knowlarity have been fortunate to have a steady supply of such crises. Whether it was standardising our products when we were running out of money, or being forced to bring more automation when having to grow without increasing burn, or continue to offer CloudTelephony services when suddenly 30% of your telephone lines are disconnected without any notice.
When our lines got disconnected on 21st, we frankly did not know what to do. We just had not expected that something like this could be done to us. We were caught off-guard. But we recovered. We spent pretty much all night to transfer the traffic to alternate routes using manual methods.
Strategy at 2AM
It brought all departments in the company together--sales, operations and technology. We were thinking of cross-functional training earlier, to build “customer mindset” and “customer empathy”. This all went out of the window. When you sit 2 AM trying to figure out a way to route a disconnected line so that your customer’s toll-free number continues to function, you don’t need another training in your life on team-work, customer empathy or other functions.
It also was loads of fun. There is something very exciting about spending an all-nighter in the serenity, doing something you feel passionate about. It bonds. I remember the late night chai and aloo parathas we would have at 2 AM close to our office. The inhibitions were gone. We all were almost “living” together, spending the nights together--the only difference is, you are awake.
And customers somehow can smell the “intentions” even if we, at times, could not do much in terms of fixing their problems. We got more customer love when our services were disrupted when compared to when we were all fine. It's ironic.
We still have some way to go before we fully restore our services. But the team is loving the experience of working together to fix this. It would not have been possible without this camaraderie.
This outage has not killed us. We will recover. Anything that does not kill you, makes you stronger. We are stronger.