April 4, 2005
Excerpts: Lipstick on the Pig
For many companies, the customer strategy is not an in-depth change of processes, behavior, and methods. It is common for companies to assume that their rather tight and highly efficient operation (which hardly regards customer needs) can stay intact with no changes. On top of that concept, they create a new frosting to decorate their company with a customerfriendly face. These companies treat customer strategies as cosmetics, with colorful commercials, ads, and brochures promising increased commitment and heightening expectations. The customer strategy is not an in-depth change in processes, behavior, and methods. Such companies never bother to examine what needs to change internally, in areas such as products and operations, to complement and fulfill those promises. In fact, most companies hope they will not need to change anything butthe external appearance. They want to believe that the lipstick will hide the pig and make it look like a swan.
After years of broken promises, customers are well trained in detecting a pig from a distance, regardless of how much lipstick it wears. Worse yet, the companies themselves have trained customers to be suspicious and cynical and to reject upfront any attempt to cover up the truth with cosmetics.
About Dylan Schleicher
Dylan Schleicher has been a part of the 800-CEO-READ claque since 2003. Even though he's stayed on at the company, he has not stayed put. After beginning in shipping & receiving, he joined customer service and accounting before moving into his current, highly elliptical orbit of duties overseeing the ChangeThis and In the Books websites, the company's annual review of books and in-house design. He lives with his wife and two children in the Washington Heights neighborhood on Milwaukee's West Side.