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Sunday, August 7, 2011

Brevity is overrated.

Some terrific business strategy leaders espouse brevity as a virtue in business writing. There are hundreds of examples of books, articles and programs on the suject. Seth Godin, Mike Brown, and many others others have, in the in the last few months, reinforced the requirement for brevity in business as a cultural truism.

And some believe the benefit of brevity in correspondence extends to the customer experience, with the emphasis on finishing engagements as quickly as possible. I'd argue that for the best of service encounters, brevity is not always the best course of action.

Does The Phoenician spa shepherd guests out of the immediately after their experiences?

Does Art Smith at Table 52 hustle patrons out so he can get in another seating?

Does Chris Zane get customers out of his shops in the absolute minimum of time?

Damn right he does - when it’s appropriate. But Zane’s Cycles doesn’t have an espresso bar in the shop to give customers the bum’s rush as soon as they’ve been seen by an associate. It’s there because the experience is about more than keeping dialogue to the bare minimum needed to make a sale – rich dialogue with customers makes Zane’s service experience work better.

What makes your favorite book your favorite? Its length? Or that it is well crafted, appropriate for you and therefore memorable beyond others?

Brevity can be efficient. Brevity can be effective. But use it when its appropriate. If your experience hinges on being memorable, on being crafted specifically for someone, be selective with brevity.


Jan said...

Absolutely right.

Barry Dalton said...

good to make the distinction Chris. Brevity for brevity's sake shouldn't be the goal. Same reason we all got twisted around the axle with AHT in the contact center. Monitor it. Perhaps. But if you're making decisions based on that at the expense of the service delivery, shame on you. Figure out what in your organization is really driving the cost to serve. Like the stuff that is generating demand for service in the first place.

Seth Godin and others wouldn't argue with that. In writing, say what you mean in the fewest words possible. But if it compromizes the idea, the same rule applies.