PeopleShock: A book review by Bob Morris

PeopleShockPeopleShock: The Path to Profits When Customers Rule
Tema Frank
Essential Views Publishing (June 2016)

The increasing value of the human element in a world that becomes more volatile, uncertain, complex, and ambiguous each day

In one of their books, Jackie Huba and Ben McConnell explain how to create what they characterize as “customer evangelists.” They recommend a number of cohesive, comprehensive, and cost-effective strategies by which to create what becomes, in effect, “a volunteer sales force.” This is what Tema Frank has in mind when introducing her concept of PeopleShock™, “the power of a people-focus in an era of increasing competition, social media missteps, an overwhelming pace of technological change, and pressures to replace workers with automation.”

She makes a strong case for her assertion that personal growth and professional development as well as organizational success are most likely to thrive in a workplace culture that is customer-centric. I agree with her advice to her reader: “ What all this boils down to is that using your systems, processes, and people interactions [both internally and externally] to create consistently great customer experiences, regardless of when and how your customers deal with you, is your best chance for long-term survival.”

These are among the dozens of passages of greatest interest and value to me, also listed to suggest the scope of Frank’s coverage:

o Customer characteristics (Pages 18-19 and 27-28)
o Human behavior: Shopping patterns (20-28)
o Competition (21-22, 49-50, and 194-196)
o Growth stages (29-30, 43-44, 166-117, and 190-192)
o 3P Profit Formula (35-39-56-58, and 294-298)
o Feedback from front-line staff (38-39, 121-123, and 204-207)
o Customer complaints (86-88, 158-159, 161-167, 203-204, and 249-255)
o Human resources (125-126 and 261-262)
o Potential customers (133-135 and 13-143)
o Change management (258-264)

Frank also includes several instructive micro-case studies

o Indigo Books & Music (70-72 and 151-153)
o Mount Engadine Lodge (83-86)
o Jancoa Janitorial Services (96-98)
o Lake Shore Cryotronics (117-120)
o Oxford Properties (127-129)
o Vitamart (156-158)
o “United Breaks Guitars” (162-164)
o BuildDirect (176-178 and 193-194)
o Beach resort (200-201 and 217-219)
o Corrosion and Abrasion Solutions (234-237)
o Softel (249-251

Many of those who read this book are now at work in companies that may claim to be “customer-centric” but, in fact, are not…or at least not to the extent their leaders claim. All of the information, insights, and counsel that Tema Frank provides can be of substantial benefit to any organization, whatever its size and in nature may be. What she calls PeopleShock™ can help any organization to survive, then become profitable, and over time sustain a high level of customer satisfaction if, (HUGE “if”) everyone involved collaborates on creating a great customer experience whenever there is an interaction.

Here’s the formula: People = Promise + Process + Process. Easy to specify, yes, but immensely difficult for a workforce to embrace as a way of doing business. Mutual respect and trust are the “glue” in any culture of collaboration.

That reality prompts one final point I presume to share: Don’t expect to create any customer evangelists if you have few (if any) employee evangelists.

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