Category Archives: Reward Employees

Reward Employees

Does Your CEO Want to Be Smart?


Outsmart your competitors. Buy the book


In the interest of efficiency, predictability and cost savings, CEOs have allowed the mind-numbingly frustrating treatment of customers to continue unabated. Whenever we mention the title of our book – Smart Customers, Stupid Companies – heads immediately nod. Everyone knows that companies act stupidly.

Smart wireless devices could change this, but haven’t. Why? Because such devices have been embraced by customers but resisted by companies. They’re not uniform, not bulletproof, not officially approved by IT.

Plus, smart wireless devices alone can’t change the archaic compensation systems that reward division managers for competing against each other rather than cooperating to best serve customers. They can’t communicate with company databases that live in silos, or that are hamstrung by outdated software and/or design.

We could go on, but here’s the point. Unless and until your CEO says, “Acting smart is our #1 priority,” it won’t happen. This is not something that can be achieved by mid-level managers lacking a mandate or a budget.

Acting smart will require massive changes. It will require your firm, no matter how large, to act like a startup.

But if your CEO isn’t on board, you’re just going to have to get used to the Land of Stupid.

Reward Employees

CVPS Smart Grid, Stupid Paperwork

How to Annoy Customers While helping Them

The smart grid is coming to Vermont, and Central Vermont Public Service Corp (CVPS) has offered rebates to its customers who use either Rate 11 or Rate 13 power-saving meters. These are older technologies that will be rendered useless unless a new device is added, so CVPS is reimbursing customers for the expense.

So far, so good.

To get the rebate, you have to fill in a rebate form and mail it with a copy of your expenses. But if you use both Rate 11 and Rate 13 meters, you have to fill out two different rebate forms, with exactly the same information.

By the way, only one of these forms is available on the CVPS web site.

Why is CVPS forcing customers to essentially fill out the same form twice? Because, says one of their customer service reps, “We need both forms.”

Thanks for the explanation.

(In the spirit of complete disclosure, CVPS has some very nice people working there, and in most cases they are very accommodating.)

Anticipate Customer Needs Reward Employees

JPMorgan Chase investor/customer disconnect

Who matters more: investors or customers?

“Just because we’re stupid doesn’t mean everybody else was,” said CEO Jamie Dimon in announcing that JPMorgan Chase had lost at least $2 billion in some very big, very stupid “hedges” against risk.

During the bank’s annual meeting yesterday, Dimon was generally supported by investors. One even told Dimon, “We think you are doing a fabulous job.”

But I suspect customers might not agree.

If you have your life savings of $27,408 sitting in the bank, it might not comfort you to hear the CEO simultaneously say a $2 billion loss was manageable and argue against regulations designed to force banks to take less risk.

You might yearn for the days when bankers were cautious, and community-minded, and perhaps even humble.

You might wonder how a bank could lose that much money protecting itself against risk.

You might wonder what could happen if a crisis happened unexpectedly, when the bank can incur losses this big even as our economy slowly gets better.

You might wish the bank spent less time trying to make even more money each quarter, and more time protecting your savings.

But most of all, you might yearn for better service.

Anticipate Customer Needs Reward Employees

Welcome Baseline readers

How stupid companies treat customers

Baseline Magazine did a great job of turning some of our key messages from the book into a web-based slide show.

Take, for example, their #5 slide, shown at left.

I’ve been extremely disappointed to see many companies use CRM as an opportunity to automate old marketing strategies, instead of launching more effective new strategies.

I once helped conduct a study of CRM that was sponsored by CFO Magazine. We learned that the number one indicator of CRM success was whether a particular CRM initiative had specific benefits to customers.

This may sound obvious, but it turns out that financial executives concluded most CRM initiatives have zero benefits for customers. Those that do, succeed. Those that don’t, fail.

It really is that simple.