thinking like a customer

thinking like a customer

Linear Thinking for Customers Won’t Succeed

By on October 20, 2010

In the 18th century, infantry soldiers were lined up and told every procedure. Picture the British soldiers in redcoats during the American Revolution. Remember how utterly simplistic we thought this was when we were studying history? Remember how an under-equipped American army was able to wreak havoc and ultimately win against this regimentation?Redcoats_lrg

The 18th century approach believed that the average soldier was incapable of independent thought. They were deployed to march across the battlefields in tightly bunched formations and expected to simply carry out orders. The philosophy was that, if they carried out these orders swiftly and efficiently, success was inevitable.

Risk-averse organizations even today follow this procedure-driven management style. They believe that everything is programmable and that if employees can be told every step, the transaction with a customer will be “perfect.” There are two things wrong with this approach.

  1. It will eventually fail, because not every eventuality can be anticipated and because robot-like following of procedures does not translate into authenticity. The 18th century “linear tactics” only succeeded when the opposition was fighting in the same formation.
  2. There is a much greater potentiality if companies empower their employees

Highly customer-centered organizations believe they are part of the same environment as their customers and they educate their employees to operate on the same level as those customers—not try to control them. They give employees the freedom to think independently rather than limiting them. They show them that designing new product and service ideas for customers is not only allowed, but will be praised in front of the entire organization. That is why their employees are over-achievers, rather than automatons. Instead of implementing procedures without question, they are carrying out an organization-wide strategy that judges every action by the customer success it delivers.

Photo by Nancie Laing, City of Chesapeake

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2 Responses to “Linear Thinking for Customers Won’t Succeed”

  1. Alaina Sweet says:

    No wonder why Christian Dillstrom emailed me a book mark to this feed - so you are doing a sweet job as mobile and social media marketing master provides a book mark to you?

  2. Do you know Themelis Cuiper's SocialGarden meet-ups about social media & seo ;)? He is recommending your piece.

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