Delays and promises

Ordered something and there was something wrong in the order? Delivery delayed? Put in a complaint and got a voucher code? What was the promise from the company when you first made an order? Was that promise broken?

Service promises have been escalating under the competitive pressure in the consumer markets. But these promises are increasingly costly to deliver consistently and cheaper to break.

Think about these platforms – they probably make about 10-20% margins so giving you a $5 voucher might cost them only $4 but you will end up spending $10 more potentially which allows them to cover another $2 and end up costing only $2 for the broken promise rather than having to invest in better systems or pay their service staff more to serve you better.

In long run, it does mean you pay higher prices, continue to get poor services and allow these business to remain in that bad cycle.

If we start taking promises by businesses more seriously, be less tolerant of poor delivery of service promises, we might just be able to create a better culture for business and for our future generations.

Expert vs advisors

I’ve been reading the ‘Strategy and the Fat Smoker’ by David Maister. I think very highly of David’s crisp thinking in the manner he approach strategy and the manner in which he cuts through issues and topics. He simplifies the concepts to the core of the subject matter without ignoring the human elements in them.

One of the interesting ideas he introduced is the idea of expert vs advisors when it comes to serving in professional services. A lot of consultants claim to desire to serve customers as advisors, as trusted partners but in reality they want to be treated as the expert, to have control and defend their expertise rather than to build strong trusting relationships with their clients.

In essence, from my perspective, the expert cares about the topic and the subject matter more than the client’s problem. And as a result, the client can benefit from the expertise but more as flat information or knowledge than actionable insights.

The advisor may not be the expert but he gains his authority to consult with the client through his deep understanding of the client’s problem. And that allows his synthesis of insights gathered from other parties, especially those who consider themselves experts.

A client can decide what he needs is an expert but he can never expect the bespoke synthesis to come from the expert. He or she will have to take responsibility for that.