Tuesday, October 20, 2015

How Badly Are Companies Treating You?

Comment on: How well does your organization treat clients or customers?

Our reader poll today asks: How well does your organization treat clients or customers?

– Extremely well — we take great care of them: 35.17%
– Very well — we treat them better than most other companies: 34.88%
– Well — we do a decent job but could improve a bit: 25%
– Not well — we could treat them much better: 3.49%
– Poorly — I’m surprised we even still have customers: 1.45%
Do you agree

No I don't agree; maybe I just have the lousy sample of companies I interact with. Truthfully I don't deal with companies that treat me poorly unless I don't have a choice - but that is not uncommon at at (ISP, airlines, electric company, mortgage company...).

The survey results don't surprise me, given how out of touch executives and managers are about what their customers must put up with.

I intentionally pick companies that are good, but for example with a mortgage it is then sold and I am forced to deal with a bad company...

I am thrilled when a company treats me well (because my expectations have been so beaten down that just not being treated as a huge bother is a rare), but it is rare. Trader Joe's does consistently. My credit union does. In general restaurants do.

What I have found is that if the executives are paid more than $1,000,000 the company probably treats me very poorly. I don't think is a cause, but I do think it is correlated. The executives seem to always have room to pay themselves huge salaries but are loath to provide the customers someone that answers the phone or email without wasting tons of the customers time.

Upon my return to the USA after 4 years overseas the biggest annoyance has been dealing with these companies I am forced to deal with that treat me with complete distain. They see no problem wasting my time or forcing me to follow some idiotic processes that make life easy for them.

Related: Customers Get Dissed and Tell (2008) - Is Poor Service the Industry Standard (HP in 2006)? - Don’t Ignore Customer Complaints (2014) - Customer Service is Important (2006)

Tuesday, October 06, 2015

Spend More Time Doing What You Do Well

Comment on: Is it Better to Work on Strengths or Weaknesses?

As you say to the extent your weaknesses are things you have to do spending time improving them usually makes sense. I think often the most productive thing is to spend time working on the system to maximize the use of people's strengths and minimize the use of their weaknesses. This often has a big impact without much effort.

And when you do that it is often the magnitude of strengths that makes a big difference. So you can avoid dealing with much of the weaknesses in the team and focus most effort on the strengths. And when you do that my getting even better at x allows the improvement not to just be x * 1.1 but (x * 1.1) + (y * 1.3) + (z * 1.4) - (if say I am now 30% "better" than y at the task and 40% better than z. Obviously it doesn't work so cleanly in the real world but that concept that you can get way more improvement normally by adjusting the way work is done than just by having everyone get less bad at the stuff they really should avoid doing most of the time.

You do also have to pay attention to the long term, so if someone wants to move into supervision but has some weaknesses they need to address and strengths to improve working on that makes sense.

Related: Take Advantage of the Strengths Each Person Brings to Work - Helping Employees Improve
- Many Good Employees Want to Continue to Do Their Current Job Well - Lessons for Managers from Wisconsin and Duke Basketball