You are what you repeatedly do
“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.” - Aristotle
As we chronicle here, organizations and individuals alike can engage in some strange behaviors. It makes me wonder what they’re thinking (or if they are.)
I have questions:
Why do organizations insist on surveying us following the most mundane interactions? My bank sends me a survey every time I use an ATM. My pharmacy asks how they’re doing every time I check out. Why? Do they need validation that badly? Are their expectations of basic survey delivery so low that they are hoping to catch an attaboy they can publicize simply for existing? Just because your ATM or cashierless checkout machine performed its routine mechanistic duty, it doesn’t mean I’m going more likely to recommend you to others. Please stop wasting our time and your money gathering data but not insight. Deliver real service by real people and we’ll talk.
Why don’t more retail employers train their employees to make eye contact and be friendly? A regional gas station/convenience chain I frequent has done that, to their customers’ delight and their employees’ too. Staff tell me that after some initial discomfort that smiling put everyone in a better mood and is now widely embraced and encouraged. When I took public speaking and broadcast journalism classes, we were trained to smile while speaking (with exceptions of course.) It makes a difference in how you and your organization are received. A reputational reason to be cheerful!
Why do some organizations still play three-card Monte with pricing in this age of the internet? This is especially so in the automotive sector. There’s a local multi- line dealership that advertises a “dealer discount” on well-used cars…from the original sticker price. A 3 year old sedan with 40,000 miles is worth thousands of dollars less than when new? Well, duh. They are trying to hide the fact that their prices are higher than they should be. It only takes time and minimal effort to cross shop most items these days. It’s no wonder that car dealers are so widely mistrusted.
Why won’t the public stop taking their frustrations out on front-line workers? I keep getting flashbacks to the scene in Its a Wonderful Life where George Bailey gets a sock in the kisser from the husband of a schoolteacher he yelled at. It’s the wrong way to teach a lesson, of course, but the general level of incivility and just plain rudeness is at a epidemic level. It’s not that hard to be kind. But it seems out of reach for more and more of the public. And our boorish behavior is behind much of the dissatisfaction of service workers. We are reaping what we have sown.
Why do political campaigns inundate us with ads, flyers, emails, robocalls and now texts? Is it because they have a short time to spend the money they’ve solicited, or are they following some pack/herd mentality devised by their campaign consultants? Every time I engage with a campaign (which is not that often) I ask why they do what they do. The caller/texter/emailer usually doesn’t have the answer of course…no one seems to. Face to face works, folks. And if you are trying to convince a small number of undecided folks to support you, there is no substitute for getting in front of people to have the chance to persuade them you are what you say you are.
What questions do you have about why people and organizations do what they do? Add them below in the comments.