From the Trenches
I am an Executive Leader and one of the top 10 Sales Leaders in all of Canada. Once the pilot project was actually rolled out, I lost over half my sales force, along with all the other sales leaders in Canada, as we watched the program they had named *Promise* annihilate our businesses. Before I continue, I am pleased to say that I have rebuilt and always stayed in the Top 10 in Canada even through this, but rep count and sales were reduced and we are still struggling to hit the same numbers by the end of 2013 that we had in 2012.
This article, from a trenches point of view, is deceiving. It was not because the technology was too difficult, it was because the technology was flawed. Initially the Promise Program was scheduled to be launched earlier in 2013 but they were not ready and held back. It was still not fully ready but I believe it was launched under pressure, in May 2013. The system did not work correctly right from launch. There were so many glitches and bugs in the system, that those of us with 10 + years experience, with significant sized businesses saw our reps leave in droves out of frustration. We in the field would report to corporate that many features of the website were not working but it took much time before they believed the reports. The website and programming produced so many errors it was impossible to tackle what should have been a simple task of placing orders and registering new representatives. Representatives were getting locked out of the system just trying to get logged into the new site and the Customer Care Support that was in place had not been increased enough to deal with the calls, leaving reps to be on hold for 45 mins to over an hour at a time.
The article said, "In other words, the technology worked, but it was so hard to use that Avon salespeople -- many of them part timers who network among friends and hold in-home parties -- left the company in droves. That's not consistent with the kind of consumer-grade app experience that has made tablets so popular in sales and retail settings."
The article is making it sound like it was a mere app for an iPad and that just fell short. An entire new system and website was launched and failed. The app for the iPad did not allow many aspects of the system to be used and failed as a the sole platform for any rep who only had this as an option, but that was just one feature out of the entire program's failures.
In my own estimation, of someone who has worked this business for 11 years and has consistently been ranked in the top of the nation, the bottom line is that the website and technology was what failed. When a system is launched, a few glitches are expected, but the amount in Promise were monumental. A company cannot introduce something into the field that does not work and expect people to stay in business. The non stop assurance that things would be fixed were a long time in coming. It was launched in May and we find ourselves in December now, still dealing with glitches and errors. It has improved, but for those of us who stuck by our businesses, we have the Promise Battle Scars to show we made it through.