Guy Kawasaki is right, I was wrong…

OK, this is going to be a short entry (no, don’t celebrate – I will go back to my old self in the next one).  This is a very hard for me to say… but… here it goes… I…was… wr…. wrong.  That’s right I was wrong.  I decided to come clean and admit it.  Not only was I wrong, but Guy Kawasaki was right (yeah, no big surprise there – I know).  Allow me to ‘splain myself.

I was reading Guy’s post on the Art of Customer Service, which I believe is a summary of a chapter in his latest book, on how to do Customer Service well at an organization.  And he goes on with a list of 16 items to consider.  He says lots of truths (start at the top, accept responsibility, empower your employees, etc.).  All proven truths about customer service and which I have  said and written about over the years.  Then he writes (on number 12) Use Operators.  Then, the next one, Use a callback System.

My first reaction was, like I always do when I hear this advice, was to think “Boy, is he wrong.  He does not know of the higher costs without returns if you use humans, or how good automated systems can be if done properly, and how expensive and useless callback systems are.  I have been researching this stuff for a long time, I know this stuff really well — I am right, and he is wrong”.  That was just about a split second before the devil’s advocate side of my brain (I think it is a small portion of my super-ego) fired back saying “Why? Why is he wrong”.  That was the end of a peaceful afternoon.  The brainstorming that ensued led me to this post.

See, I can easily say that something for customer service should be done one way or the other.  I have lots of experience and examples of organizations doing it differently and getting bad or horrible results.  Also have many great examples of others who did it my way and succeeded.  Alas, there are also examples of organizations that took a chance with a technology, a tool, or a method that was not endorsed by an”expert”.  Organizations that found that using Operators instead of a PBX got them good results.  Others who found that using a callback system was just what they needed for the experience they were creating.  People who took chances, did something different and triumphed.

That is when I had this epiphany – I was wrong, and I have been wrong many times before.  I will, from now on, endorse people willing to take calculated risks.  Instead of using my knowledge to say what cannot be done, turn it around and advice companies how to do things differently and succeed.  How to analyze risks and rewards within a vision of their best interest (and that of their customers) and move forward with things that may not have been recommended.  See, Guy was right – and for teaching me that lesson I thank him.

What about you?  Have you done something against the norm and triumphed?  Let me know your story…