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Digital Behaviour, People

Managing Cascading Customers

In the earlier post I had introduced the next challenges that an organization would face. The challenges were,

  1. Managing Chaos
  2. Managing Connectedness
  3. Managing Cascading Customers

In this post I will discuss the third challenge.

There are two concepts that I want to introduce at the outset.

  • Rejection before selection
  • Speed of good news vs bad news

There are so many options in the market that customers usually go through a process of rejection before a process of selection. For example if you are buying a laptop we first set basic filters to reject unwanted laptops. This could be a filter of brands, lower and upper limits of price, technical filters on RAM etc.

chainOrganisational link to one’s customer is fragile. Each one of us relies on something or someone to point us to a new product or service. Be it an advertisement or a reliable maven. There are perhaps 50 or more brands of toothpaste in the market. It is entirely impossible to experience each of the 50 toothpaste and make a choice. By the time you make a choice there would be perhaps a few more new toothpaste in the market!

Or simply ask the person next to you what to buy – that would be a simpler strategy.

One another to understand in the customer chain or network if you prefer, is the speed of good new vs bad news in the network. There is a divided opinion, but I believe bad news travels faster than good news. Usually you could be provoked to get angry, have you ever be provoked to get happy?

When your organization treats a customer wrongly, chances are high that he is going to drown his sorrows by telling the next person he sees or make a beeline to your Facebook page.

Every customer has an in visible set of people around him who listen to him, experience his happiness and sorrow. He sets up an image in their mind regarding your product and service. He tells them that the vacuum cleaner is cool. He tells them about the great experience he had flying last week or how terrible was the new toothpaste…. And they listen to him. When they are in the market next time, they avoid the toothpaste.

When dealing with customer it is necessary to resort to Domino Thinking.


Miller-Lite People Dominoes

Remember the falling cards, concept of cascading deletes, the concept of cascading failure of economy, the awesome effect of a rolling snowball? Bad experience fuel the emotional contagion faster than good experiences. This could have given risen to the idiom misery loves company? The question to ask is when would you want the domino to stop?

‘Going viral’ is something we all know now a day thanks to social media. It is in most cases short-lived. For organizations however short-lived things hurt and hurt badly. If the virality, if such a word can be used, has the wrong content organization have to quickly go into a damage control mode. A tweet about losing a musical instrument by a celebrity musician ensured that people discussed the airline in question for wrong reasons at the coffee tables of the world.

Organization would like to go long lengths to keep customer happy. However there is a caveat here.

The organization however walks the tightrope between ‘Customer is always right strategy’ and ‘keeping employees first’. Managing cascading customers is often a tough decision in the face keeping employees happy.

In this context knowing customers becomes very important – customers may be always right – but could turn out to be unmanageable – It may be worth removing them from your customer list – they may cause more havoc being one than not being one.

These three types of thinking must be inherent in organization in facing the next challenges – Complexity Thinking, Network Thinking and Domino Thinking.




  1. Pingback: The next challenge | A Ra News - October 24, 2014

  2. Pingback: Managing Chaos | A Ra News - October 24, 2014

  3. Pingback: Managing Connectedness | A Ra News - October 24, 2014

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