How to Get Ahead: Lie, Cheat and Steal
To use Wharton professor Adam Grant's estimates, about 35% of the business workforce is comprised of takers. These are folks who are out for their own interest. Among their numbers are leaders who are driven more by ego than empathy. Some are self-promoters who are quick to take credit for the work of others, who twist reality to suit their interests, and who care about power more than people.
The vast majority of "customer-focused" initiatives reek of a taker mindset. Most of them are nothing more than thinly-veiled efforts to boost sales and/or automate marketing. They do not think of customers' interests first. They do not give major new benefits or services to customers. They seek to take more money out of people's wallets.
In short, these initiatives were designed by takers, and if you are a giver it is enormously frustrating to deal with the hypocrisy that surrounds you: your company says it wants to help customers, but its policies and procedures are designed to take from customers, not give to them.
The taking mentality creates systems that make it so hard for customers to stand up for themselves that it's easy for companies to "legally" lie, cheat and steal from them. Don Peppers and Martha Rogers superb book, Extreme Trust, details many such examples, even if their language is a bit more polite than mine.
One such example is charging customers monthly for services they haven't used in a very long time. It would be easy for such companies to proactively do the right thing - contact each customer and ask if everything is alright - but it is more profitable to remain silent and collect the cash.
Likewise, is it stealing when you take credit for the best ideas of your subordinates? Yep. Is it cheating when you blame subordinates for your own misjudgments? Yep.
Putting takers in charge of customer experience is like asking a bear to guard your honey.