#7 More customer-centric culture, facts useless for changing minds
Welcome to my seventh newsletter covering customer experience and customer-centric business strategy. The four topics this week are:
More thoughts on establishing a customer-centric culture
An email from a former colleague made me think of the manager we shared when I worked for Compaq. Tom Iannotti was a passionate Yankees fan and led Compaq Global Services in EMEA at the time. He was passionate about a number of other things too, both in his business and private lives. His passions seemed to have one thing in common. He was always interested in short-term results. Indeed, when he was briefly put in charge of strategy for Compaq Global Services at worldwide level he told me “They must be trying to persuade me that long-term thinking means more than next month.”
I was managing alliances when he became my boss. Like customer experience and indeed marketing, alliances produce their results in the medium term. Tom’s words to me were “I don’t like the answer you give me when I ask how much revenue your work will bring in this quarter.” I realized I had to change jobs to maintain his support. I moved to do service delivery strategy for the following couple of years.
The point of this story is simple. Sometimes your leadership just does not support things that only provide benefits in the medium term. If you are trying to start up a customer experience function and find yourself in this situation, you really need to change jobs or companies. It is not possible to succeed without the support of both your manager and their manager.
Notable customer experience items from other sites
New Yorker article on how hard it is to use facts to change people’s minds
I am often struck by how many articles and infographics about customer experience lead with the facts. Percentages of this. Proportions of that. Many of the articles build perfectly logical arguments for investing in customer experience resources and programs. One challenge is that most people in any given audience or readership will already have made up their minds before starting to read or listen. It is very difficult to change people’s minds with facts. The article is by Elizabeth Kolbert, who has won the Pultizer Prize for general nonfiction in 2015. It demonstrates comprehensively that facts don’t work well for changing people’s minds, though no new alternative is proposed. The experiments describes are all entertaining, and some make me uncomfortable, as I recognize myself. The article is here.
CustomerGauge article on improving subject lines in survey emails sent to customers
A nice article and infographic on effective subject lines for outbound survey emails. It is worth doing things like trying new variations on half the emails you send out to see whether response rates do indeed improve. The infographic explains the suggestions in a nice way, and you can find the article here.
Learning the new software required to produce good-looking Kindle books has proven more complex than I expected. I write in Scrivener, and the Kindle books it can output do not have the table of contents in the correct place and lack a few formatting features I would like. This has meant that I have finally had to learn some HTML and how to use Sigil to reformat the Scrivener output. I try to tell myself it is all a necessary and fun learning experience.
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