2018年2月10日 星期六

Seth's Blog : The other kind of customer service

The other kind of customer service

Reactive customer service waits until something is broken. We leave it up to the annoyed customer to go to the trouble of finding us, contacting us, and then, in real time, advocating for themselves until we finally manage to make things good enough (we rarely make them better than the customer hoped).
Perhaps we ought to spend more time being proactive.
How many people on your team are actively advocating for the customer in advance? Guiding the process so that most disappointments won't even happen, which means we won't have to fix them...
Is there any more effective way to engage with customers than to create products that don't break their hearts?

Seth's Blog : A country for con men

A country for con men

The medicine show hypester, the confidence man, the snake oil salesman… my country has a long history of marketers of ill repute.
The reason is simple: we spent two hundred years spreading out over the continent, and unlike Europe, strangers were common. Everyone was coming and going, and it wasn’t unusual at all to engage with someone you didn’t know.
The downside of this openness are all the people who took advantage of it. A tradition that continues to this day.
In the rush to expand, people embraced the idea of the big win. They named their ranch Bonanza, or their town Prospector. They drilled for gushers, invested in penny stocks, and took expensive placebos...
The upside is that being receptive to new ideas, even those too good to be true (especially those) creates a tradition of neophilia and optimism. When someone has a breakthrough—an innovation that actually keeps its promiseit’s much more likely to catch on.
The downside is pretty obvious. 
And so we have to remain vigilant, teach our friends and customers to be on alert, and push regulators to take care, because there’s still a con artist on every corner.

Seth's Blog : Your corner of the sphere

Your corner of the sphere

What sort of novel do you want to write?
What does your restaurant offer?
What about that new record you're recording?
It's tempting indeed for you to seek to be high quality, low priced, durable, with excellent service, less filling, better taste, poetic phrasing, conveniently located, powerful characters and organic. All at once.
But that's not how humans process what you have to offer.
Consider some classic, bestselling novels or memoirs. Snow Crash matters because of the ideas within. Harry Potter worked because the plot kept kids riveted. The language in Patti Smith's Just Kids is perfect, and the characters in To Kill a Mockingbird are unforgettable. Of course, each book has the other elements in some measure, but it's the one thing that sticks with us.
Zappos might have good prices, but it's the service we talk about. Tom's might have fashionable shoes, but it's the pay it forward that resonates. And your iPhone might have good download speed, but it's the design and fashion that we pay for.
All a way of helping you think about the many disconnected points on the edge of the sphere in your industry. Pick one to exceed expectations in, while making sure everything else is good enough.

Seth's Blog : Falling out

Falling out

The hard part isn't coming up with a new idea.
The hard part is falling out of love with the old idea.
That's why editing work is so difficult. In order to make the new thing, to make the old thing better, you need to destroy it first.
Situation switching, acting as if, loving the idea enough to sketch it out and then caring enough to stop loving it... that's where the tension often lies.

Seth's Blog : What motivates you to take action?

What motivates you to take action?

School taught us to answer a simple question, “will this be on the test?” If the answer is no, we’ve got no time for it.
Work taught us to fear the boss and the review and our performance ranking. And we are motivated to do the work if we get paid for it, because, after all, that’s why we call it work. Do the least, because you're always going to get asked to do more.
Or we could be motivated to avoid shame, or to take advantage of the sale that’s about to end. Motivated by deadlines, by crises, by the media "breaking news" out of the situation room.
Is it any wonder, then, that we end up as short-term, unhappy, profit seekers? And that marketers and others that seek to engage with you build their offerings around your motivation?
Millions of students are in college, many going hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt. They are surrounded by huge libraries, high-speed internet access and educated people, and yet the dominant dynamic remains: how little can I do? Will this be on the test? 
And the rest of us are in the real world, with the infinite library of humanity at our fingertips, with millions of people to connect with, with an unlimited array of problems worth solving right in front of us.
What if each of us were motivated by curiosity instead? Or generosity? Perhaps we could learn to see possibility instead of risk. What if we took and finished online classes because we could, not because there are assignments, tests and a certificate?
I see this firsthand with the shift students in my courses go through. At first, there's an awkward pause when people realize that there are no tests. Without tests, it seems, it's easier to focus on more pressing urgencies at home or at work. But then, postures begin to change. People realize that a different kind of motivation might lead to a different sort of outcome.
The choice of motivation is a fork in the road. It not only determines what we do and how we do it, but it drives marketers to decide what they make and how they’ll sell it. It changes the way school boards and regents design courses. It changes the story we tell ourselves.
Today's Groundhog day, an oddball holiday built on the premise that winter's a grind, that we want it to be over with, that our motivation is TGIF... The magic of the film, though, was realizing that our motivation is actually up to us, and that if we choose, we can change it. If we do, the world might change in response.
We get more of what we respond to.

Seth's Blog : Reversing Alinsky's rules

Reversing Alinsky's rules

In Rules for Radicals, Saul Alinsky laid out 13 principles that can be used in zero-sum game political settings to discourage and defeat enemies.
Alas, this approach is often used by both sides in just about any issue, and tears away at civil discourse. When you're so sure you're right that you're willing to burn things down, it turns out that everyone is standing in a burning building sooner or later.
What happens if we reverse the rules?
1. Put people to work. It’s even more effective than money.
2. Challenge your people to explore, to learn and to get comfortable with uncertainty.
3. Find ways to help others on the path find firm footing.
4. Help others write rules that allow them to achieve their goals.
5. Treat the others the way you’d want to be treated.
6. Don’t criticize for fun. Do it when helps educate, even if it’s not entertaining.
7. Stick with your tactics long after everyone else is bored with them. Only stop when they stop working.
8. It’s okay to let the pressure cease now and then. People will pay attention to you and the change you seek when they are unable to consistently ignore it.
9. Don’t make threats. Do or don’t do.
10. Build a team with the capacity and the patience to do the work that needs doing.
11. If you bring your positive ideas to the fore, again and again, you’ll raise the bar for everyone else.
12. Solve your own problems before you spend a lot of time finding problems for the others.
13. Celebrate your people, free them to do even more, make it about the cohort and invite everyone along. Disagree with institutions, not with people.

       

Seth's Blog : Would you vs. will you?

Would you vs. will you?

'Would you' questions almost always fail to evoke useful information. That's because people are nice, and want to spare your feelings. "Sure, if you built x, y and z, then of course I'd consider buying it."
On the other hand, 'Will you' questions get to the truth immediately. "Yes, I'll buy that from you today."
You can do all the research in the world, but until you have the guts to make a sale, it's difficult to be certain of anything.

Seth's Blog : The Super Bowl is for losers

The Super Bowl is for losers

[But selling projects well isn't. There are five things every project organizer can learn from the stadium builders...]
The Times reports that the people of Minnesota spent half a billion dollars (more accurately written as $500,000,000.00) to build a stadium and make concessions that led to being able to host the big game today. And, like every other city that has invested heavily in the NFL over the last decade or more, they will certainly lose money, probably a lot of money. More money than we can easily visualize.
So why does it keep happening?
Why, despite volumes of documented evidence, do well-intentioned people spearhead new projects like this? There's a valuable set of lessons here about human behavior:
  1. The project is now. It's imminent. It's yes or no. You can't study it for a year or a decade and come back to it. The team creates a forcing function, one that turns apathy into support or opposition.
  2. The project is specific. Are there other ways that Minneapolis could have effectively invested five hundred million dollars? Could they have created access, improved education, invested in technology, primed the job market? Without a doubt. But there's an infinite number of alternatives vs. just one specific. 
  3. The end is in sight. When you build a stadium, you get a stadium. When you host a game, you get a game. That's rarely true for the more important (but less visually urgent) alternatives.
  4. People in power and people with power will benefit. High profile projects attract vendors, businesses and politicians that seek high profile outcomes. And these folks often have experience doing this, which means that they're better at pulling levers that lead to forward motion.
  5. There's a tribal patriotism at work. "What do you mean you don't support our city?"
For me, the biggest takeaway is to realize that in the face of human emotions and energy, a loose-leaf binder from an economist has no chance. If you want to get something done, you can learn a lot the power of the stadium builders. They win a lot. 

Seth's Blog : Empathetic doesn't mean doormat

Empathetic doesn't mean doormat

It's essential to find empathy for the people you hope to serve, to teach, to work with. Without it, you can't find the place they're stuck, you can't help them move in the direction they seek to go.
But it's entirely possible that your empathy will lead to a moment where you need to say 'no'.
"I just bought a new car from you, drove it for a thousand miles, but now, I've broken my arm in a fall and I won't be able to drive for a while. Can I please have a full refund?"
Of course, this is a selfish request. Your dealership can't survive if buying a car is a slightly more complicated version of renting one for free.
Yes, you can empathize or even sympathize with this customer's plight. A broken arm is bad enough, but the additional pain of seeing a car you can't drive every day... that's worse.
But empathy doesn't require you to reach into your pocket because the customer has rewritten the terms of the deal and is undermining the business you've built to serve others.
Instead, it means that you can see his pain and that you're completely okay with this person not buying from you again. That through the mist of pain and percocet, it's entirely possible that he doesn't have the reserves to be empathic to you, that he can't see it through your eyes. And you probably can't force him to.
So empathy leads to, "I hear you, I see you, and if you need to walk away, we'll understand. We hope you'll see it the way we do one day, but right now, I can't solve your problem."

Seth's Blog : Everyone's watching (no one is watching)

Everyone's watching (no one is watching)

When you're doing something you'd rather hide, when you're cutting corners, breaking promises or acting like a bully, it's fair to assume that plenty of people are watching.
And when you've got a new project to launch, an act of generosity you want to share or an announcement to make, it's useful to imagine that those very same people are doing something else.
Positive signals are often weak signals. We need to be prepared to offer them with consistency, to keep showing up in the face of apparent apathy. It's not apathy, it's merely people who are too busy and distracted to slow down and hear you enough to appreciate you (at first.)