The Cost of Good Intentions
Good news from the cell phone company this week. Sign up for their family plan for 2 years and you can add a line for $9.99/month, they promise. Exceptions apply only when you try to add a line and they can't figure out how to make it happen. Closer to home, what happens when your organization makes a promise to stakeholders without providing staff with effective tools and training?
With trust as a vital commodity for an organization wanting to increasing revenue or achieve almost any other goal, two thoughts come to mind. First, the shock question: Who would miss the obvious need to plan for delivery of a promised service? Second, the notion that it is easy to miss key details, especially when implementing solutions that require technology -- like social networks, wikis, or other online tools.
So what questions do you ask, when you really want to deliver for your customers? Here are a few: How will a new system work? What software or online services will you need? Staff resources are almost always required, so who's job will it be to make it work? As a bottom line, new ideas are less costly to implement well, than the cost of losing the confidence of those who pay your bills.
Epilogue: I didn't lose trust in the phone company, mainly because I try not to expect too much. And after talking with about 15 people, I finally did get to add that line for $9.99/month. But telecomm revenue tycoons beware! Customer loyalty is borne of trust, so I have my eye out for better offers. And the lesson for organizations who rely on others for their livelihood is that promises can be cheap to make, challenging to keep and costly to break.