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All For One, And One For All August 26, 2009

Posted by Chuck Musciano in Random Musings.
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I’ve been having a semi-regular delivery issue with a certain national daily publication.  Every now and then, it does not arrive in my driveway.  I dutifully go to their web site and note this oversight.  The next day, I get two copies: the current issue and the previous day.  Needless to say, getting a daily publication a day late is of limited value.

When this happened last week, I tweeted about it, and included the publication’s Twitter account in the tweet, along with two columnists who also happen to be on Twitter.  It was a bit of an experiment, I’ll admit, but it was also a request for help.  Would the power of Twitter help solve my problem?

Well, no.  What I did get was a direct message from a columnist with the number of the customer service department, along with an explanation that the columnists have nothing to do with delivery.

I know that.  I knew that when I included the columnists on the tweet.  But they work for the publication, just like the delivery people.  And in the end, they should be just as concerned that I get my paper as they are about writing their columns.  When the delivery person makes a mistake, the columnist looks bad.  When the columnists wrote a lousy column, the delivery people lose a bit of stature.  They are all in this together.

This is just as true in our own companies.  How often have you seen a group breathe a sigh of relief when they discover that “some other department” made a customer-visible error?  I hate to burst their bubble, but they get painted by the broad brush of customer dissatisfaction right along with the group that made the mistake.  The outside world does not know, or care, that some mistake occurred in a specific department.  They only know that the whole group has caused them a problem.

When you make a mistake, you hurt the reputation of every single person who works with you, whether they are involved or not.  That’s why mistakes are so expensive: not only did you inconvenience a customer, you damaged the standing of all of your co-workers.  Did they deserve that?  Did you think about that before doing your best to do a good job?

Fortunately, this works the other way as well.  When you make someone happy, everyone in your team benefits whether they were involved or not.  By making a customer feel good about your company (or department, or whatever), you improve the reputation of every person in that group.  What a great way to help every person you work with, every day!  Help a customer and make everyone look good!

The columnist dissociated themselves from the group that made a mistake, thinking that I would do the same.  But like most customers, I view the Journal as a single entity.  When my paper is late, they all decline a bit in my mind.  But if the columnist had gone out of their way to help fix my problem, they all would have gone up in my book, from the deliver person to the editorial board.

We’re all in this together, all for one and one for all.  Remember that when someone makes a mistake, and leverage it when you decide to do something good.

[tweetmeme source=”EffectiveCIO” alias=”http://bit.ly/cio096″ only_single=false]

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Comments»

1. elliotross - August 26, 2009

Agreed, Which is why I hate email threads like this one – read from the bottom up;

OTHER: > No

ME: >>Did you advise her?

OTHER: >>>Hi
>>>should be contacted by the Claims Center concerning the issue which he will review and then review with me if needed.

ME: >>>> Did you get an answer for ?

2. Reigneer Nabong - August 26, 2009

Great post. It seems so logical, yet there are still those who are incapable of grasping the concept. It is unfortunate that the “team” mentality has to be consitently instilled in the workplace. But, let me be the voice of a contrasting point. I would say that there are some (a very small percentage) incidents in which we would consider other members of the group before making an overall assumption. An example is if we have had great relationship with a customer service group, and after a number of great services, we encounter a representative who did not meet our expectations. In this case, we may step back and recall all the other representatives who work hard and try their best to make our experience pleasurable. Then again, this is the exception not the rule. And, as you alluded to one’s actions benefiting the team, the repesentatives who provided great service have built up the company’s image to the point where we would likely dismiss one negative incident.

3. David M. - August 27, 2009

Have you noticed this division of responsibility in other areas?

It seems fairly ingrained to push blame onto another person or shift responsibility to another area. Unfortunately this trait has the same detrimental effect whenever it’s found.

4. Chuck Musciano - August 27, 2009

David,

I think it exists everywhere. There is a natural inclination to use the “it’s them, not us” excuse everywhere. Seth Godin wrote about this as well, a few weeks ago, at http://bit.ly/3fN9B3

5. Elliot Ross - August 27, 2009

Good Afternoon Chuck, yes Seth’s was a good one as well.

A year or so ago Kumud Kalia, CIO and EVP for customer operations at Direct Energy was quoted;

“If we define the customer as someone who buys the company’s products and services, then it logically follows that the customer is external to the company. Therefore, customer-oriented employees consider what they do—all that they do—in the context of how this better serves the real customer.”

The customer pays the bills

And as businesses (of all size) – I think we forget that. We need to encourage everybody to look to the outside – not look at their navel

Best Regards

6. Chuck Musciano - August 27, 2009

Elliot,

I saw that article by Kumud and, in fact, posted about it here:

https://effectivecio.com/2009/07/20/whom-do-we-serve/

Actually, I disagree with his premise. Customers are those you directly serve, not necessarily those that actually do business with your firm. In the case of the poor delivery, both delivery people and columnists are facing external customers, but many folks within the company do not.

There’s much more on this on the post, above. It is certainly a hot topic, that’s for sure.

7. elliotross - August 27, 2009

I like what you wrote, but I find (at least in SME’s) that if IT is not in some way talking with customers you begin to lose answers like these;

Do you make it drop dead simple to business with you?

One click, or one phone call and done?

Or is it a frustrating round of telephone tag, faxes, e-mails and the like?

Rather than telephone tag, can your largest customers look up delivery status on your web site?

Can repeat orders of your products be placed with you electronically? Or are you forcing them through a lengthy exercise of faxes, sign offs and phone calls?

Have you actually asked them how you can make yourself easier to purchase from?

One example I wrote is; http://wp.me/paqed-jU

8. Athos, Porthos, Aramis And The SMB « A Dime a Dozen Small Business, Tech and Talk - September 4, 2009

[…] inspired title of a great blogversation started by Chuck Musciano at his EffectiveCIO blog titled; All For One, And One For All […]

9. J. Aramathea - December 6, 2009

RE: All For One, And One For All August 26, 2009

The writer, Chuck Musciano, is correct. I have worked in advertising, design and marketing for years and know that most people view a company by the persons they know at the company.

10. Athos, Porthos, Aramis And The SMB | Strategic Technology - December 24, 2010

[…] inspired title of a great blogversation started by Chuck Musciano at his EffectiveCIO blog titled; All For One, And One For All […]


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