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What do the BP oil gusher, bad cyber security and bad customer service have in common? May 27, 2010

Posted by Jim Satterfield in bad news, Business & Society, Environment, The Internet, Uncategorized.
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A certain mindset in most of American business, that’s what. Basically what it comes down to is a categorization of people, departments and activities as either contributing directly to the bottom line or not directly contributing. And if you don’t contribute directly then you are second class in the company at best. This leads to a strong drive to cut costs when it comes to second class activities and people. Computer security falls into this class of lesser being, unlike production programmers or the people who keep the network running. People in charge of trying to meet safety regulations are also lesser beings in the socio-economic hierarchy of businesses. Customer service is definitely viewed purely as a cost center that’s pretty worthless when it comes to actually generating income.

Then comes the breach of computer security. Then an oil well or drilling rig blows out, killing people and causing an environmental disaster. Then a well known blogger or someone else in the public eye starts griping about how bad your customer service has become and how angry it makes him. Then his readers chime in and link after link is made to his rant, making it a wide spread PR nightmare that even makes it into the mainstream media.

Let the finger pointing begin and all too rarely does anyone recognize that the core problem is a lack of understanding on the part of many executives that their business, like everything else in our complex world, has an infrastructure that it depends upon and that it isn’t just the stuff on the surface that is meaningful.