Saturday, April 30, 2005

Are the people who talk to customers motivated correctly?

So often the people who are in most contact with the customer in companies are not motivated to satisfy, never mind delight, the customer. We see this frequently in the front office staff of medical businesses. The employees there see the doctor or hospital as being at the top of the pyramid and the patient at the bottom. They see themselves as representatives of the doctor, so feel no compunction in talking down to the patient as though they are the unworthy supplicant, rather than the customer and as such, the boss.

Recently, in three seperate incidents, I encountered receptionists who were rude rather than helpful, and expected the patient to plead and go through major inconvenience without complaint to see the doctor. Of course, this could not happen in regular commercial enterprise - or could it?

Sunday, April 17, 2005

How long does it take for a company to die?

In the recent demise of Rover MG in the UK, some may forget that just one of its predecessor companies was once the third largest car company in the world. Companies are born, grow to maturity and die much like humans. Companies start to die far before others recognize their trajectory. It is becoming clear that Ford and GM are well along in that process. When did it begin? It started for both quite a few years ago. Similarly, there are other companies which have started the process of dying even as Wall Street lauds their performance. We can be fairly sure that any of the Fortune 500 will not be around in ten years, and most will not be around in twenty or so.

Yet companies do not have to die. Procter & Gamble is over 175 years old. It never rests on its laurels and constantly questions and re-invents itself. Others can do this, but rarely does the culture at the top encourage this.

Thursday, April 07, 2005

Are we trying to make ourselves average?

Most of us realize that PowerPoint makes innovative thinking seem less innovative, and poor thinking look better. However, it is becoming normal to use Powerpoint to present the most mundane or earth shattering ideas using PowerPoint. Einstein's Theory of Relativity would have been poorly represented in PowerPoint.

This is not meant to criticize PowerPoint. Used appropriately, it is a strong tool. However, many people have slipped into poor habits, and a 100 page PowerPoint presentation, with wonderful graphics does not substitute for real insightful thoughts on the back of a napkin.