Your people lie when they complain

Shopping Product Reviews

As a manager, it is important to remember one thing.

As an entrepreneur, it’s the same lesson:

People, whether employees or customers, lie when they complain.

This is not an invitation to dismiss these complaints. No, it is essential that you take them seriously. They are not lying about the fact that they are upset.

But, most of the time, they lie about why.

They’re not doing it on purpose. What would be the point of that? I mean, they want to feel less upset. They want you to help them… but they don’t know how.

And neither should they. As a professional, it’s your job to know.

You do not believe me?

Ask anyone involved in market research and they will tell you a story. Maybe second hand, maybe from your own experience. Mistakes are so common and easy to do that the following are useful clich├ęs:

Most customers say the price is too high, so the company goes to great lengths to lower the price…only for sales to plummet, because it’s now seen as ‘cheap’ or ‘inferior’ .

Or a purveyor of greasy swill offering healthier options because “that’s what people want!”… only to end in embarrassment and disaster.

Or a company sees a lucrative opportunity outside its core market and pursues it with both hands hungrily outstretched. After all, people want frozen dinners…said a Colgate executive in the 1980s. The rest is hilarious history.

Even if you’re not in marketing, the lesson still applies.

Look, one of my recommendations, for internal and external communications, is to overcommunicate.

Talk more to your customers and employees than you think you should.

Because if you talk to them ‘enough’, they go long enough without listening to forget your message.

But if you do that, people will complain.

They’ll say you’re sending ‘too many emails!’ or whatever. They will ask you, politely or not, to send less of them.

Your complaints are real.

But your solution?

That is a direct fabrication, and it would be unwise to pay attention to it.

The same people who complain about a 200-word email will happily binge Netflix for hours. Obviously, and despite claims to the contrary, you are not communicating too much. They could flip through each message in ten seconds or read it in a few minutes.

That’s not some extra work of Hercules here.

If people say it’s too much, then something is wrong.

But it’s not the volume, it’s the quality.

If your posts are funny, surprising, and helpful enough, people will read them. Not all, sure, but many will. And ‘many’ is enough to push your message forward and keep it fresh in people’s minds.

Your people will take small breaks from their day. Whether those breaks involve soaking up dank memes or listening to what you have to say is up to you.

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