Whether it comes to a great restaurant or a great technology company, the inevitable distractions, overload, outside scrutiny, arrogance, confusion, and fear of screwing things up (rather than focusing on making things better and better) mean, all too often, that "success ruins everything."
Being very good at what was
Because businesses become very good at what was. And something else. The irresistible urge to be liked (now literally so) is a pull toward the middle. It's incredibly easy to give in to that urge. To compromise just a little.
Do that enough times, and all of a sudden, you're trying to be all things to all people.
Keeping the promise focused
Not only that. When you broaden the kind of promises you think your brand could conceivably make, without establishing the operational ability to delivery on those promises, you're compromising the confidence that is placed upon your business and brand.
Making things better means keeping your promise focused.
Humanizing the business
For many normal people who don't live online like us, this means treating all customers with fairness and respect. Most of the individuals who engage with a brand on the social Web do so to get something:
- a coupon and discounts -as in Exact Target April 2010 report (requires email to download)
- event better, free service - see the Freemium Flaw for some extra thought on this
- preferential treatment - you have to execute flawlessly to pull this one off
In other words, as observed in the Gallup graphic above, social initiatives fail to push both our rational and emotional buttons. Which is all the more reason why customer service in social is not fair.
The one thing businesses can do and that is under their control is to focus their promise, not look to customers to tell them what it is.