June 30, 2010 Michael Bickerton
One of the most interesting trends in the “Google age” is the notion that you don’t need to be perfect. I’d suggest that since the internet is never stagnating, always moving, and easily changeable, the notion that on the fly change is acceptable and even recommended is a very different notion than the one our parents grew up with.
Microsoft, Apple, Google have all launched products that were not perfect in fact, they were all aware that there were issues, problems, and fixes required to improve the product. Yet, it’s not acceptable for General Motors, Honda, Kellogg’s or Proctor & Gamble, as their products are tangible and once delivered cannot be changed, revised or upgraded.
It seems that some companies have the luxury of making mistakes and others not. Additionally, there are others that have the benefit of not only making mistakes but knowingly making them. Then listening, responding and making changes after the fact. Apparently, it’s not the mistake that matters but what you do about it, how you react to the mistake.
Companies are learning to deal with making mistakes, acknowledging the mistake and then apologizing for making the mistake. In this new era, we are to speak with a human voice, be bold, honest, open, transparent and blunt in dealing with your customers. Yet, recognizing that everything, yes I mean everything you say, print, publicize, discuss is on the record. Remember, all information is searchable and discoverable.
I was directed to, The Cluetrain Manifesto, which is a culmination of 95 rules, statements or would they best be called suggestions? I have yet to delve into this resource but will do so shortly. I was left with this “We are not seats or eyeballs or end users or consumers. We are human beings – and our reach exceeds your grasp. Deal with it”. It would seem that things have changed, if not in all businesses, if not in all industries, but certainly with the way you need to view your customers.
Michael Bickerton, Raven5 Ltd, June 2010