Today's Rant

There is no fundamental conflict between marketing and operations, unless we make it so. Marketing begins with offerings, prices and promotes and places them in the right channels. And then evaluates, refines and repeats. Does any of that threaten ops?
In health care, using last names in a long-term relationship often comes across as falsely deferential. At an appropriate point, staff can ask, "May I call you Ella?" or "Would you prefer I call you Ella or Ms. Smith?"
Answer items in a survey can be alphabetical, in logical order or in randomized order (often with an "other" anchored last). But ordering a gender question as Male first and Female second is none of these.
Avoid passive voice, no-news verbiage, present tense verbs and ambiguity, unless you are or pay an attorney. Resist "We have received your request" (obviously, or you wouldn't be writing about it). "We are working on your request" calls to mind an army of hamsters and adds nothing. "We expect to complete the modifications by June 17, assuming the temperature remains above freezing" at least says something. But if your attorney shudders, what about "We most often complete modifications similar to yours within two weeks of receiving the request."
Simple grammar meets courtesy: it's "May I tell her who's calling?" NOT "Who's calling?" or "May I ask who's calling?"
"We are writing to inform you..." and "We recently learned that..." should be completely eliminated. Just say what you need to say: "Really Big Company (RBC) has recently recalled its Green Widgets, lot numbers X through Y. To find the lot number on a Green Widget, look at the bottom right corner. To return a Green Widget with one of the lot numbers above, visit any RBC branch."
Nothing kills a company faster than rewarding mediocrity, questioning the competent and/or inbred skepticism toward the "not invented here." And having beer on tap, a candy dish and/or pizza nights doesn't substitute for a culture of confidence that's earned. Interviewing with someone who's clearly insecure in her position? Just walk away.
"These final questions are for classification purposes only." Wow, I feel better about these already -- not. Let's try, "These final questions will help us group your answers with others, to ensure complete confidentiality."
We can send people to the Moon, but we can't do better than a voice menu where someone has to scream "agent" five times to get a call rolled over? No wonder everyone hates "Marketing" and "Customer Service." If your constituents are further than one click or button push from help, you're wasting their time, and walking away from the relationship you might otherwise have.
"Exceeding expectations" doesn't mean anything until you have helped establish reasonable objectives for your goods or services. If you're in an industry where expectations are low, "being just a little bit better" sounds good but doesn't burnish your brand. How does "the lesser of all evils" sound? Well, it's not the value proposition that wins you loyalty.
Among the grammar sins I encounter most often: "The meeting was attended by Jane Doe and myself." But the correct sentence is, "Jane Doe and I attended," which eliminates the passive voice and the sin of using "myself" in place of "me." ("By me" may sound strange, but it would be correct in the original sentence).
"The most beautiful gift we can give one another is the truth." How did that wisdom translate to the timidity, bluster and obfuscation so common in the business world?
"Qualitative methods" are not synonymous with "focus groups." Only if your objective will benefit directly from group effects should you use them, live, virtual or telephonic. Otherwise, the bias, distress and potentially misleading data aren't worth the candle (or the cookies). Most of the time you will answer your questions/build models better with 1x1s, quant and/or something else (e.g. secondary data analysis).
Just say no to "click here." Embed the target link in a Google-friendly search term, and preserve the flow of your narrative.
E-mails really aren't exciting in their own right any more, nor are "free shipping" or "10% off" offers. And subject lines that begin with my first name should be rethought. Highlight a unique benefit, leverage a previous relationship or transaction of value to me, and I'm much more likely to click through.
Before you decide to measure "satisfaction," consider a way to elicit perceived achievement against some objective. Before you measure "preference," try to design questions that obtain decision drivers (domains, measures, threshold values that actually changed or would change behavior). Are these 100% predictive? No, but there's a lot closer to the truth you need than asking for abstractions not used in real life.
Life's not lived as a shopper, facing endless aisles of products. It's a parade of "must do it now" vs. "can afford to wait" decisions. Denial, inertia and fear are the three most powerful forces in the universe.
People want to be "smart" health care consumers, but most do not want to be "health care experts." They want on their own, friends' and families' behalf, not to be taken, not to be ill and not to suffer. However, death is a future and unknowable consequence, whereas pain and limited function are in the here and now.
Give your members discounts. Give your non-members bigger discounts…once in a blue moon, and only after you've gotten the word out.
Curate content. Show your tell. Link peers. Stay out of the way. The social media are not PR on line, nor are they just another rich media library nor a substitute for marketing.