After a few years now working with systems thinking, I have learned that looking at a system with a customer’s perspective can be scary.  I say this especially for those observing from the outside that practice the “hide your problems at all cost” methodology.  A practice I don’t advocate.

The misguided practice of hiding problems can only stand to infuriate customers.  Employees spend wasted time and energy hiding things as this becomes part of their job.  This has to figure into the formula of why $50 billion was spent on customer service and $450 billion on marketing . . . we have to spin our bad service so customers believe we actually provide good service.

Waste causes waste.  Time and energy devoted to hiding things is not cost effective or good business.  The fact is customers already know that your service is bad, the problem is that sometimes your company does not or (worse) pretends not to know.  It is beyond reason to denyand ignore or even blame the customer.

When we go to study the end-to-end performance of a service organization from a customer perspective, eyes are immediately opened.  We see things in a new way that is good news . . . your performance is worse than you thought.

So, how can this be good news?  Because if you didn’t have the guts in the first place to look, you may never have known.  You could have blissfully gone on thinking your performance was spectacular where the reality is your service stinks.

Fortunately or unfortunately, when service organizations (or even government entities) look we will find waste and usually lots of it.  Your perspective on finding this out or willingness to find out has everything to do with how your service organization will perform in the future. 

For systems thinking you have to be curious, but you also have to have the guts to take the step to find out how you are performing service for your customer.  That’s good news . . . in the eyes of the customer . . . because they already know.

Leave me a comment. . . share your opinion!  Click on comments below.

Tripp Babbitt is a speaker, blogger and consultant to service industry (private and public).  His organization helps executives find a better way to make the work work.  Download free from “Understanding Your Organization as a System” and gain knowledge of systems thinking or contact us about our intervention services at [email protected].  Reach him on Twitter at or LinkedIn at