I need a minute to work up to my point, so breathe.
The primary residual gift of a university education is the people you meet. The secondary residual gift are the events that one attends, from Bacchanalian parties to concerts to theatre. And one such theatre event was at Mount Holyoke College where Shakespeare’s Henry the Fourth was having a brief run. Soon I heard a dialogue that would haunt me and inform my world view up to today, and it is between Glendower and Hotspur. There are about ten people on the planet who know that the Lincolnshire-born Henry IV lived his brief 46 years as the tenth king of England pretty lush, thanks to his mother’s enormous Lancaster estates. I tell you this in case you are watching the ’24’ series and want to understand some of the references, like restaurants and Tube stops.
OK: the point about customer experience! Glendower and Henry Percy (Hotspur) are like IT and Marketing – forced to live in the same environment, but not really a good match, and both hold their own skills in higher esteem than the other believes is warranted. Neither trusts the other, but each tries to show up the other.
Here is their dialogue:
Glendower: I can call spirits from the vasty deep.
Hotspur: Why, so can I, or so can any man;
But will they come when you do call for them?
Glendower: Why, I can teach you, cousin, to command the devil.
Hotspur: And I can teach thee, coz, to shame the devil—
By telling the truth. Tell truth and shame the devil.
Glendower is a lot like an IT team running a customer experience project – from a technology perspective, they can do anything: “I can call spirits from the vasty deep.”
But as we have learned over and over and over again, technology is the easy part. This is the big moment when I hear Hotspur’s Question! “Why, so can I, or so can any man;
But will they come when you do call for them?”
We should always be asking Hotspur’s question: Will they come when you do call for them? Will customers be drawn to you because of the technologies that you put in place? Can our mobile Apps be as seductive as Uber or our sites like Amazon or our delivery like UPS or our stores like Sephora or Burberry? How do we know? Who finds them seductive? Who should be in charge – Glendower or Hotspur?