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How Logic Limits Influence

080623a In developing a marketing system, you have to put spaces and slack into the system that allow for positive human interaction and reaction. The story below reminds me of the old saw: 'people don't care what you know until they know that you care.' We are simply unable to capture everything we know about human relations in scripts and flow charts. You can't rely on miracles but you have to allow people to pause, reflect, listen, and add something of themselves to the process.

Strategy+Business: The Science of Subtle Signals, by Mark Buchanan 2007-Aug-29

Successful [customer service] operators, it turned out, speak little and listen much. When they do speak, their voices fluctuate strongly in amplitude and pitch, suggesting interest and responsiveness to the customer’s needs. Operators who speak with little variation come across as too determined and authoritative, but by speaking invitingly, being responsive but not pushy, a skilled operator can let callers find their own way to a sale. “Like a mother speaking singsong to a baby,” says Pentland, “variation sounds perky and inviting. If operators do it right, they’re almost certain to be successful.” ...

Most explanations of human behavior in the business world presume that people — be they employees, consumers, or executives — are influenced most by meaning and reasoning. It’s what gets said that matters, not how it is said. But the per­formance of these telephone operators and a growing volume of other evidence suggest that this view is seriously flawed. In a wide variety of facets of everyday business, the keys to sustained success may actually lie in understanding the kinds of signals that are ordinarily overlooked: tone of voice, body language, the ways people congregate (or don’t), the time spent on tasks, the rhythms of workplace activity, and the patterns of social networks.