Thursday, November 27, 2008

Hurry Up And Wait!

Okay, so here’s a challenge for today. I invite you to respond to this post or send me a question that is provocative, polarizing, and begs to be responded to. The potential for the conversation is huge. You’ll get excited. Other readers will get excited. Then I won’t respond. You’ll wait. How long? A couple of days? Hours? Minutes? You’ll become frustrated. You’ll comment to others about the poor experience. The conversation we’re having will lose its impact. The things that make dynamic conversation or that define inspiring marketing will disappear. This happens all the time. A client demands immediate action for assistance on a product launch from their marketing company. The marketing company meets the deadline. The client then delays the response a year. A boss demands the latest sales report from an employee and then takes weeks to respond. A company demands immediate delivery of a new service that pushes all other business and customers aside, only to take months to pay the supplier that helped them.

Time is the one constant, the universal currency - its value is greater than ever.

The insight here…avoid the “Hurry Up & Wait” strategy. If something is urgent, deal with it. Complete it. If you demand something of your customer, be sure to value their time equally. If you demand the priority of your employees or partners time, be sure to reflect the value in their response by investing the time to provide feedback. If you have a doubt that a task requires more thought, more feedback, bureaucratic approval, or your conscious tells you otherwise, then hold off – but manage those who have committed their time to date. Relationship marketing and customer service have far less to do with the image we project, and far more to do with how we are perceived to manage our customers time. If you practice “Hurry Up & Wait” in your company, with your suppliers or with your consumers, you’re working against yourself. You’ll have watered down your relationships (or brand) and lost one more level of trust with the people that pay your bills.