Conflict is good for business!

Companies cannot provide perfect customer experiences. However, they can take advantage of bad situations, by facing the conflict, listening to the customer, understanding his or her needs, and making decisions accordingly. Ultimately, it doesn’t matter how many conflicts you have (or don’t have) with the customer. What really matters is how your company deals with them.

This post is a response to “Experience Story: I can’t believe they listened to my feedback! …(eventually)” by Syed Hassan.

Many companies try their best to prevent conflicts with their clients and correct the problems that cause them. However, these efforts prove to be futile in the long run, because it is next to impossible to maintain a perfect record of flawless interactions with customers. The good news is that conflicts with customers—dissatisfaction, unmet expectations, mistreatment and service mistakes—can actually be good for business!

Continue reading “Conflict is good for business!”

It’s not what you do, it’s how you do it

Why would some people protest against an initiative to do them good? Why some altruistic endeavours get sabotaged by the very beneficiaries of the efforts?

Why would some people protest against an initiative to do them good? Why some altruistic endeavours get sabotaged by the very beneficiaries of said efforts?

Last month, a local Vancouver newspaper reported on a group of residents who oppose an ex-neighbour’s initiative to embellish a nearby city lot. Although this proposal includes investing $7,650 of the city’s money to improve this piece of land, many residents protested against it through anonymous emails, letters to the city and even confrontations on the street! “The neighbours are up in arms”—one resident commented [1].  Meanwhile, some us wonder why these people are protesting against a plan that seems well-intended and beneficial. What is it about the whole situation that makes it deserving of such tremendous furor?

Continue reading “It’s not what you do, it’s how you do it”

Compromising sucks!

In a couple of months, Vancouver B.C. will undergo an important social experiment that will test transit users and drivers’ ability to coexist with bicycle riders. The Burrard Bridge, one of the three constructions that connect the west side of the city with the downtown area (see map), will have one of its lanes converted into a bicycle-only path. Approved by the city council in early May, this decision wasn’t free of controversy [1]: while a number of bicycle advocates were disappointed that only one lane will be converted, some drivers and transit users recalled with worry the traffic jams created by a similar experiment carried out a decade ago.

Continue reading “Compromising sucks!”

My boyfriend was not a selfish, treacherous bastard… he was just Japanese

Most people think that resolving cross-cultural conflict is about spotting and dealing with differences. I think this is wrong because cultural differences are easier to handle. Differences invite us to be careful with our judgments and to enquire on our counterpart’s intentions and motivations; in contrast, cultural similarities temp us to make hasty judgments, and assume that we already know the intentions and motivations of our counterpart.

Most of us think that resolving cross-cultural conflict is about spotting and dealing with differences. Thus, we pay attention to the behaviours and customs we find odd and strange. I think this is wrong because cultural differences invite us to be careful with our judgments and to enquire on our counterpart’s intentions and motivations. In contrast, cultural similarities tempt us to assume that we already know the intentions and motivations of our counterpart. As in the following anecdote, this could be the mother of all cross-cultural mistakes.

Continue reading “My boyfriend was not a selfish, treacherous bastard… he was just Japanese”

Rational negotiations have feelings too

A dispute between TransLink—the region’s public transit authority—and some post-secondary students made the cover of the Vancouver Sun on Monday last week. Although the students rightfully claim to be unfairly treated, negotiation and decision analysis shows that they made irrational choices in the past. On the other hand, TransLink could have handled more effectively the emotions involved in these negotiations.

A dispute between TransLink—the public transit authority in Vancouver, BC—and some post-secondary students made the cover of the Vancouver Sun on Monday last week. Although the students rightfully claim to be unfairly treated, negotiation and decision analysis shows that they made irrational choices in the past. On the other hand, TransLink could have handled more effectively the emotions involved in these negotiations.

Continue reading “Rational negotiations have feelings too”