Scaring a customer off is easy. Easier than you would ever imagine. Have you ever considered if you might be doing just that?
For quite some years I’ve got troubles with my eyes. Nothing painful but something I need to keep…well… an eye on 😉 My regular ophthalmologist takes a good care of keeping my troubles in check but recently a friend convinced me to go and get a second opinion from his friend who works at a hospital and specializes in my illness. The idea sounded pretty good, so I immediately scheduled an appointment, collected all documents I’ve got, double-checked the name of my medication and went for the visit.
It didn’t start very well. It is the least to say. I was there early in the morning but the doctor was already quite worked up. I was showed to the diagnosis room with a bunch of other people. As soon as the results proved I had my illness, the doctor started sharing her opinion about my regular doctor with anyone who would listen: — Who is this doctor she has? What incompetence! How can such people practice medicine!!!
I could immediately feel my adrenaline level rising. My whole body became tense and I curled within myself. The next question was fired at me: — What medicine do you use?! I couldn’t remember anymore. My memory got totally blank. Which became a reason for another rant: — You are irresponsible! You have a serious disease and you don’t take care of yourself!!! You will go blind!
I tried to recall something. Suddenly I remembered the name of the medication I used to take before. Then I recalled part of the name of my current drops. It was no good. I was deemed stupid, careless and foolhardy.
My only dream at this point was to run away and hide. But I needed to listen to 10 minutes of more ranting about my behaviour, the skills of my doctor and my blind future. It all ended with the doctor getting back to her room, slamming the door behind like a hormonal teenager. I packed my medical records and run for my life.
It took me half a day to recover from this situation. Yeah, it was extreme — no doubt. Yeah — nobody should be treated like this. Yet… how often this is actually the case? Sure, it may be rare that someone screams at you or shuts the door into your face but there are infinite ways to make anybody feel stupid and incompetent. To evoke the learned helplessness syndrome.
The learned helplessness
What is it? It is a feeling we experience when we are exposed to an averse stimuli and there is no way for us to escape or avoid it. The only thing left for us is to accept the reality, give up trying and feel like shit about ourselves. Over a long run it can easily become a basis for depression as whatever is happening to us makes us feel as if we have no control over it.
Think war or imprisonment. Think being stuck in a dead-end job. Or being mistreated by your ….(fill in the appropriate) teacher. Or being shouted at by a doctor. Or, perhaps, being made feel stupid by technology. Feeling stuck and out of control with what is going on in the digital world. Thinking you are staying behind while the world keeps on spinning ever faster.
It’s hard to keep up but it doesn’t have to be this way
I keep on asking people during my lectures and presentation, what they are most afraid of, when it comes to the technological evolution. The bottom-line seems to be pretty much always the same: not being able to keep up. But it doesn’t have to be like that.
We are offered this amazing opportunity to use technology to push the world forward. In so many ways. It can be done by only respecting the technology itself or by respecting the people who are going to use it. It is a choice and we have it. And it starts with a simple question: what things on your platform make people feel small and inadequate? How are you scaring them off? What can you do to change it? Bit by bit.