Tag Archives: feedback

Blame The Producers

Every once in a while I get up from my computer screen and take a break.  Sometimes it’s to make phone calls.  Sometimes it’s just to spend a few minutes watching the news.  Anything to step away, clear my head, and refocus.  You should try it!  Lately, however, I find myself not watching the news networks while they have multiple people engaged in conversations.  You know the format – a couple of talking heads representing opposing points of view batting an issue back and forth.  Except lately there’s far less dialog and a lot more overlapping screaming.

I can’t take it.  One person begins to make a point and the other one starts yelling “you’re wrong.”  The “moderator” from the network rarely intervenes – I’m sure they’re thinking this is great TV.  It’s not.  One guest talks over another until it’s time for commercial.  It makes my head hurt.  It demeans everyone involved. It’s wrong in so many ways and it makes a great business point.

I blame the producers.  They could be telling the audio guy to cut off a mike.  If I was in the booth, the reporter would hear “tell so and so that if they won’t let the other guest speak I’m cutting off their mike until it’s their turn to talk.”  You know – kind of how you’d treat a child, which is how they’re behaving.  Former elected officials do it.  Party officials do it.  Rarely, however, do people serving in office do it – they have something to lose – the next election!

It would be a disaster if you ran your business this way yet many people do.  They talk over customers or are so focused on making their point that they ignore what the other people are saying.  One thing digital has done to us all, in my opinion, is curtail our attention spans.  We’re used to responding immediately to things and we’ve all become a lot more self-centered.  Don’t believe me?  Look around the next time you go out to eat – how many people are checking their phones instead of engaging their dining companion?   We can’t do that if we’re to be successful businesspeople.  We need to cut off our own mikes and listen.  We need to moderate the customer feedback portions of our digital efforts.  Not to curtail opinion but to enforce grown-up behavior.  People want to express their opinions and we should welcome that.  We can insist on them doing so respectfully.

One of the points in The Cluetrain Manifesto (surely you’ve read it by NOW!) is that in both internetworked markets and among intranetworked employees, people are speaking to each other in a powerful new way.  Your business needs someone to keep them “speaking” and not shouting over one another.  How are you doing with that?

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Filed under Helpful Hints, Reality checks, Thinking Aloud

Invisible Customers

Whole Foods | Austin, TX

Image-That Other Paper/Flickr

The Mrs. had an interesting experience this morning. A new Whole Foods opened up nearby and after running some other errands she went in to shop on the early side. In fact, she was just about the only customer in the place.
As she walked in she sensed a different kind of energy and asked a staff member if something was going on. It turned out that something was indeed going on: a visit to the new store by the corporate CEO and other higher-ups. And that’s when the interesting experience began. Continue reading

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Filed under food, Helpful Hints, Reality checks

Don’t Touch!

Wet Paint

Ever deal with a hot stove or wet paint? Most of the time, the latter has a sign posted around it that says exactly what it is. Generally, most people avoid it but there’s always some genius who has to check it out by sticking a finger in to see how wet it really might be.
If you’re a parent, the hot stove lesson is teaching your kids to pay attention to feedback from others about things going on around them. I tell you it’s hot and if you ignore me you’re going to be sorry. Which is why I find something really perplexing. Continue reading

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Filed under digital media, Huh?


One of the virtues of the interactive web is the amazing amount of feedback it generates.  I’m not talking about the Jimi Hendrix-style, blow your ears off stuff.  I mean the back and forth of conversation that is so critical to any business.  It’s inconceivable to me that a business would shut itself off to that information flow but many do.  Think about trying to reach a human at many of the companies with which you do business.  Websites such as this would not have to exist if it weren’t for the wall-building in which many companies engages.

Part of why I cook and play golf is the feedback.  If something tastes right, you know it, although what is right to me may not be right to my consumers (the other folks at the table).  Hopefully you get that feedback too (they’re not bashful around here about shredding the cook).  The lesson from golf isn’t that one gets feedback on how good or bad the last swing was – that’s pretty obvious based on where the ball goes.  The point is that one has to pay attention to it or you’re going to lose a number of balls.

Hey!  That may be the business point too!  If you don’t want to lose your balls, you need to listen to feedback and react.  Is you company paying attention?  Are you actively soliciting consumer opinions or are you making those email links hard to find?  Does a person answer your phone or is it an endless phone loop to nowhere?

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Filed under Consulting, Helpful Hints