Magazine article Management Today

Smoke & Mirrors

Magazine article Management Today

Smoke & Mirrors

Article excerpt

Who's the random man roaming the office upsetting everyone? The comms chief thinks he should find out.


Our bewigged CEO Lynton Spivey has put out an IMPORTANT email saying we have to 'create a memorable emotional imprint' for our customers. A couple of months ago we made an elementary mistake. We asked our customers what they thought of us. You wouldn't do that in a marriage unless you were thinking of ending the relationship and it's exactly the same in business. At least you're only dealing with one unhappy customer in a marriage whereas in business there are thousands.

And of course, it's only the chippy whingers that respond to customer surveys, the people who aren't happy unless they're unhappy. These are the same people who fill TripAdvisor with one-star reviews of five-star hotels. You can probably sense I'm upset. It's not the customers really, it's the fact that we now have to put the customer at the heart of everything we do. That, quite honestly, is the last place we want them.


Had a meeting with our CIO Mike Lamb. IT has never been our strong suit Hold on, that's slightly unfair.

When I think of all our other departments, IT actually comes out quite well. But there is a problem. We know customers don't like 'computer says no'. We also know that our computer is more likely to say 'why don't you f*** off'. Anyway to fit in with our new customer-centric regime Mike did some Customer Journey Mapping and found that most of our customers are standing with bags packed ready for the next flight out. Which is a journey of sorts. What he came to ask me was who the new guy in his department was. This guy didn't say much but kept staring at everyone and asking questions. I said it sounded like a consultant that Spivey had hired after a long lunch.


Peter Barnsworth, our porky CFO, once worked out that customer service was the biggest cost to the business and should be scrapped. He was one step away from saying that customers themselves should be phased out.

Barnsworth communicates through spreadsheets so I was a bit surprised when he collared me in the gents. For a split second, I thought it was a Grindr moment but then he admitted that he thought he had a saboteur in the Finance Department because someone had tampered with the nested formulae in his master spreadsheet. …

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