[This is an excerpt of a post I wrote for Waggener Edstrom’s “Thinkers and Doers” blog. The full post is here.]
Micheal Foley and I often chat online about the state of business communications. Although he and I disagree on many things, every time we get into a discussion, I feel inspired to post.
Today, we were talking about the relationship between customers and companies typically being an adversarial one. There are many reasons for this, but a major contributing factor is that many companies have historically thought of people as markets. In contrast, people (even groups of people) don’t think of themselves as markets and would be offended at the suggestion.
People are quite attuned to how we are treated by those around us. We take thousands of visual, auditory and contextual clues in every second to judge our environment and potential conflict. We know instinctively when we are being slighted, when the tone is condescending, when there is even a hint of adversity, and it puts us on the defensive. We see loud car commercials, and subconsciously our defenses go up. We go into fight-or-flight. The only reason this is different than having a car come zooming toward us is that we are assaulted by so many messages throughout the day, that it’s changed our default stance.
[Read the full post and comment at Thinkers + Doers]