Microsoft Dynamics 365 Blog

There are few TV characters that can claim worse circumstances than Piper Chapman and the rest of the inmates from Orange is the New Black. Yet, despite having made choices that landed them in prison, many of the residents of Litchfield Penitentiary have found enterprising ways to survive within its walls.

If they can do it, so can the rest of us. So let’s take a look at the traits that keep this band of hard-as-nails women on top, even when their chips are down. Here are five ways we could all learn to be as resourceful as the characters of Orange is the New Black.

1. Play all the angles. When Piper Chapman first set foot in Litchfield Penitentiary, she was thrust into a (sometimes literally) cutthroat environment. When you’re opening a new business or entering a new market, you can sometimes feel the same trepidation she did. In these situations, it’s important to get your name out there fast—just don’t insult the mob-connected prison cook along the way.

Grab the best tools at your disposal and mount multichannel campaigns that reach out in contextual, personal ways to every potential customer out there (like Piper did when she concocted a pain reducing lotion for Red, the aforementioned maligned prison cook). Once they know your name, you won’t be the new kid on the block for long.

2. Work closely with your team. When Gloria Mendoza was chosen to take over the prison’s kitchen, she faced fierce opposition from Red. Mendoza and her team fought off Red’s attacks with good communication and strong teamwork. These same tactics work wonders for nurturing collaborative sales.

Rather than relying on Orange is the New Black’s passed notes and messengers, however, make sure every member of your team has the tools to work together via phone, tablet or computer.

3. Find opportunity in change. Despite her loss of control over the kitchens, Red didn’t take her change in circumstances lying down. Even as she fought to regain her lost (contraband) distribution center, Red kept her eyes open for new opportunity, eventually finding it in the form of a greenhouse.

Customers will always be looking for new solutions to old problems, but with the right analytics on your side you can predict changing lifestyles, streamline production, and discover new opportunities as they appear.

4. Keep an ear to the ground. In every interaction, there is knowledge to be gleaned. Nicky Nichols survives her prison time by listening closely and learning from every relationship. Follow her lead by gauging customer sentiment and you’ll be that much closer to understanding your business environment. You’ll know what turns first-time buyers into loyal customers, as well as which areas you might be able to improve in. Social engagement solutions help you keep up with the conversation—maybe even better than Nicky herself.

5. Build strong relationships. Poussey Washington personifies the strength that can be gained from building lasting connections. Even when strong competition moved into her area of influence in the form of Vee, Poussey survives because of the strong personal bonds she has forged.

With customers doing much of their shopping and research online, creating personal connections with them is harder now than ever. But with a little help from cross-channel service solutions you can tailor each customer’s experience just for them, whether or not you ever meet them face to face.

It’s a competitive world out there and, just like the inmates in Orange is the New Black, you should use every tool at your disposal to survive. For more insight into how the right tools can make a difference where you work, consider taking a test drive of Microsoft Dynamics CRM today.

We're always looking for feedback and would like to hear from you. Please head to the Dynamics 365 Community to start a discussion, ask questions, and tell us what you think!