Do consumers dream of electric sheep?

Over the course of  July, guest bloggers from around the world share their good, bad, or ugly customer service experiences. It’s a place to complain, rant, and highlight opportunities for companies to improve. But, this series is also a place to celebrate when companies do well, processes work effectively, service representatives are our advocates, and we leave a situation as stronger believers in the product or service than we started.  
Stephen Ellis: Digital marketer extraordinaire

Stephen Ellis: Digital marketer extraordinaire

Today’s guest blog comes from the land down under. Stephen Ellis, blogger of  www.stephenellis.com.au, has a rad Australian accent, rivals Katrina Taylor in the fashion world (but for men) and is a digital marketing extraordinaire who loves communications, technology, and telling stories.  Oh, and he may or may not have gotten me addicted to an awesome clothing boutique in Aus.

I’m a human. The Australian boy variety, to be specific.

What I’m not is a client, consumer, data point, lead, patron, prospect, purchaser, shopper, supporter or user.

I mean, it’s probably fair to say I do all those things. It’s just not what I am.

Sometimes companies get confused on this point, I think.

Facebook for example, which rates in the 15 worst companies for customer service. And to whom I am part of a product to be mined for data sold to the highest bidder.

Remember that scene in The Matrix when Neo looks upon the field of humans being harvested for energy while they live with the Matrix. I probably don’t look as horrified, but Facebook kinda makes me feel like that. Or like that relationship I had as a teen with that girl from that school, where what I thought, willed or wanted mattered less than truth that they’re using me.

Photo Credit: http://www.jimpryor.net/teaching/courses/epist/notes/matrix-pod.jpg

Photo Credit: http://www.jimpryor.net/teaching/courses/epist/notes/matrix-pod.jpg

I suppose good customer service is when we’re treated more as friends – or fellow humans, at least – than customers. Like Derek Sivers says:

Imagine how powerful it is for a customer to know that he is listening to somebody who … gets him, than something like, Thank you customer 4325. How may I quickly handle your problem?

I love nothing more than when my experience with a brand exceeds expectations on an authentic human level. I mean, when was the last time a brand ended an email to you with, P.S. We love you.

Yep, I’m still waiting for that email.

The most recent experience that I felt was an awesome was in Melbourne boutique, Honor Among Thieves.

Following a truly engaging conversation with Roy, who is the designer and owner of the store, I took my leave. Roy came out from behind the desk where he’d been standing and shook my hand and said, “I’m really glad you came in today. Thanks for looking around.”

I was so moved by the sincerity of this gesture that I knew I’d go back to the store. I also told my wife about it. And a bunch of other people. Now you (did I mention you can order online?).

In an age of hyper connectivity, when customer service is the new marketing, I’m surprised more companies don’t follow the wise words of Guy Kawasaki and do those little something specials that enchant us all.

If that’s too much to expect from large companies, maybe they could just remember who they’re dealing with. Humans.

I can relate to Stephen’s example of Facebook and the Matrix, more than I care to admit. But Stephen’s approach and perspective on relationships especially between a company and a customer is a breathe of fresh air. Have a great experience like he did with Honor Among Thieves? Better yet, received an email saying “P.S. We love you!” I wanna know! In fact, we all wanna know!

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There’s no exchange of moolah behind these blog pages, pro-deals, or freebies with this series. What you see is what you get; real stories from real people who are sharing their experiences to challenge the status quo, inspire companies to take action, and ultimately build a life long customer. Be sure to come back soon! Kristin McGunnigle will be sharing this Wednesday just how difficult it is to leave a favorite spot for bad service.

July 5: Nike earns an A+ by Jackie Ostlie

July 3: How to Please the Queen by Katrina Taylor

July 1: Are you kidding me? by Evelyn Wolf

1 Comment

  1. Stacy has a nice story about Starbucks’ customer service 🙂

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