Several years ago I worked for a small software company. My job was
tech support. People would have questions, call a number, and my job
was supposed to have answers for them. This company offered this
support at no extra charge, setting itself aside from the rest of the
industry. But if it cost nothing for them, would they use it more than
they really needed it?
One of our competitors had an extensive online library that even some of
our tech support personnel used to research information. The thought
occurred to me – why shouldn’t we have our own library. By building a
resource to better educate ourselves, and our customers, we could
improve the quality of customer support. By raising the level of
customer knowledge, we could also reduce the amount of calls we received
for routine issues that customers could handle on their own.
I relayed this idea to a more senior associate in an email, ending it
with a modified version of the saying, “If you give a man a fish, you
feed him for a day; if you teach a man to fish, you feed him for a
The response back was, “We’re in the business of selling fish.”
When confronted by the possibility of change, is your first action to
defend the status quo? Is your business model designed to thrive on
your customer’s ignorance? Are you in the business of selling fish?