The doorman fallacy

I really enjoyed this podcast episode between Ali Abdaal and Rory Sutherland.

The doorman fallacy, as Rory describes it, is when an organisation assumes that the notional role of the doorman, that is opening doors, is all the doorman does.

In reality, a doorman does so much more. Replacing the doorman by an automatic door in an attempt to save on costs and be more efficent, for example, could very well backfire.

It got me thinking whether this could also be relevant for organisations who notoriously try to optimise their customer support team to be as frictionless as possible with the help of chat bots or self-help desks. The underlying reason being, of course, that more friction leads to less scalability.

While that is true and I do think that a very busy customer support team is probably also not a good sign, I still have the overwhelming feeling that, more often than not, organisations tend to underestimate the real value a human being as customer support brings on the table.

Written on Jul 12, 2023