Planning To Be Ordinary

I had a conversation once with a manager of a fast-growing start-up. It had a self-service design, which required a fair amount of training and hand holding of customers at the beginning, but became mostly automated once the initial learning curve was climbed.

I asked how the follow-up interactions were going once a customer was up and running.

“We don’t reach out once things get worked out.”

“Why not?”

“Because if we reach out once a week now, when we are double our size six months from now we’ll only be calling once a month at best, so the customer will perceive the quality of their service has gotten worse. We can’t scale service like that, at least not while we’re growing.”

Translation: Said Manager was planning on interacting as little as possible with his clients to avoid the impression of quality service, which may be construed as the company caring about its customers. Wouldn’t want that.

The Manager was unwilling to scale staff to maintain a level of service, because he was looking at an automated cash cow, and exceptional service in the form of additional staff would ruin the margins. Wouldn’t want that, either.

The start-up probably isn’t going to make it for a variety of reasons- but I suspect the Plan To Be Ordinary didn’t help.


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