Monthly Archives: October 2011

The Media Just Missed a Moment of Customer Triumph

We can count on the media to trumpet tales of business sticking it to customers – like the recent spate of disgusting debit card fees big banks imposed to offset losses from the federally mandated lower transfer fees. But we absolutely can’t count on them trumpeting customers sticking it to business – like fierce customer forcing banks to roll back these abhorrent fees as fast as they imposed them.

Although we’ll have to celebrate in media silence, we should all bow our heads with respect for what consumers just accomplished. But could this be the turning point in bank – consumer relations many of us have been anticipating?

What do you think?

More Companies Are Deigning Customer-Centric Business Strategies, But Then What…?

Although far from a majority, the percentage of companies with customer-centric strategies continues rising. But then what? Well, in so many cases what comes next is a major disconnect. Once the customer-centric intent is established, next should come customer-centric process redesign (including designing enabling technology) that should change intent into action.

Unfortunately, what does happen instead is process design that covers its cost-control roots with a customer fig leaf. Companies wheel out production-based process schemas practiced by production-trained process designers and get production-based process – that adds only tangential benefits to customers.

Personally, I’d rather train process untrained people in the principles of customer-centric process and turn them loose, rather than bring in the Lean/Six Sigma troops. What do you think?

FYI, here’s a link to an excellent CustomerThink post addressing this issue by Joseph Drager ( I’ve added my 2 cents.

Have consumers finally reached a breaking point?

Many (including myself) have prematurely predicted that consumers would express their anger at big banks with their feet – by fleeing to smaller banks and credit unions less inclined to gouge them. Having been wrong before, I won’t make another prediction. But the number of market and industry watchers making the prediction is rapidly swelling.

So I’ll ask for sage opinions from all reading – “Have increased debit card fees, mortgage fraud and other customer abuses finally brought U.S. consumers at least to the tipping point? And what’s the future of big bank – consumer relations?”

SOFTWARE ALERT: Avoid Microsoft Office 365 (at least for now)

Without the usual new product fanfare, Microsoft has unleashed Office 365 on the public. I suspect underplaying the launch points to Redmond wanting unsuspecting buyers to pay for their beta testing.

Don’t get me wrong. OS365 is a powerful concept for small business people who travel. All your apps in the cloud – but more importantly, you can keep all your files up there in your own, almost no cost SharePoint site. And Outlook can reside up there permanently, preserving the data history you lose when you travel without bulk transfer of Outlook data from desktop to laptop when you leave – and the reverse when you return. Of course, we can use LogMeIn or one of the many remote access tools. But they’re slow – and more importantly to me, they take a bite out of an already small laptop screen. Squint time.O365 would resolve all these issues. Easy traveling. If you could even load it. I got as far as trying to preserve my normal e-mail address while switching. Unfortunately, MS has designed a URL ownership verification system that requires adding some text to your URL record, whatever that is. As a “convenience,” to reach your URL registration manager you must use their utility which takes your URL and finds the registrant, often your ISP. But in my case, it popped up the wrong group. And when I finally found the list of values this utility works from, there wasn’t a single URL manager listed I’ve ever used in my relatively long history of business Internet presence. Plus, there’s no manual override.

To solve this and other problems I’ve already encountered, subscribers are supposed to access some magical O365 community that will provide all the help you’ll need. Unfortunately, I suspect this “community” is a ghost town. No one answers. Not even any acknowledgments of receiving your requests, the way the big boys do it.

Promising app? In theory, you betcha. But for now, looks like O365 will be yet another broken promise from Microsoft.