Jun 27, 2011

"Yes Customer, Have Your Cake!"

Saying “Yes!” to all that customers ask is not a viable customer retention tool!

If you want your customers satisfied, tossing a quick “yes” or habitually agreeing to deliver whatever is definitely not an appropriate response - if this is routine and habitual to you and your team, your customer might start doubting your credibility. If you are serious about delivering on your promise, remember that diligence is prudence!

Take time and assess:
  • if customer needs fit into your and their strategic goals and
  • if what is asked solves real needs
...and then say “yes” (or “no” if necessary). 

This might seem either counter intuitive (culture of collectivism) or an obvious thing (culture of individualism) depending on where you are from. However if customer satisfaction is important to you, actually delivering on promise matters more than giving an impression that you can! 

Many employees of Indian IT services companies are prone to say “yes” when they are supposed not to - this behavior has its roots in culture of collectivism - where disagreeing and responding in negative is seen as disrespect and disloyalty and hence is avoided.

Affected firms should invest in mandatory behavior training (not just cultural orientation) to help employees cope with such habitual behaviors and responses with roots in their culture to help employee get into customers’ shoes.

(Embedded Dilbert strip is my mashup - copyrights owned by Scott Adams)

Jun 17, 2011

Death with Detail

There is devil in detail! Details tempt people to look away from their goals and purpose and get carried away in filtering, slicing and dicing data endlessly.

This preoccupation with detail is next only to our desire for riches. Whatever the position in hierarchy, senior, middle, junior, day in day out are busy on obtaining and making sense of details without which most of them cannot do their jobs. Detail of operations, projects, business and so on. Phone calls, emails, meetings costing countless dollars and hours of effort are spent on obtaining details that might not really help.

Sure, details give a sense of control and focus, they give comfort of knowledge, feeling of being hands on and a reassuring sense of  control. But details need more detail to understand and more and more detail to explain and make sense of and soon, we are lost in them. Details matter less than the purpose, goals, objectives.

Details shield us from focusing on goals, purpose and objectives of the mission on hand. details destroy our sense of direction.  With excessive details, 'means' start to matter more than the ends. When purpose is ignored, thoughts drift, actions chase themselves in a futile pursuit.
With no big picture, no map in hand, we loose our way, it might sound counter intuitive, but we don’t actually loose our way not without detail, but the other way round. What you need to find direction and reach your destination is a compass and a map, not the details of how exactly the next turn looks like...for instance.


If it were not for the detail, meetings will be shorter, there will be lesser confrontations, more harmony for individuals with their surroundings, others and within themselves.

How do we know if we are lost in details?

Ask yourself why you need the data/detail in the first place? What conclusions does it help you make, what insights it is expected to give. If the answer doesn't relate to your mission goals, you are lost in details for sure.

If you are not sure why you are doing the next level of drill down, just don’t dig further - perhaps you already have data you need.

What are your thoughts?