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Yes, great point. I've noticed the same thing. Particularly that people in entry-level, low-paying, or volunteer positions are often appeased by being given a silly job title that includes the words "ninja", "samurai", or "warrior". Congratulations, you've been promoted to grocery ninja, car wash samurai, or inside sales warrior. LOL.
Wow, you make quite a few excellent points! If you don't mind, I'd like to quote you in one of my next blogs, particularly your spot-on comment that, "The key is to have an operation where we don't need heroes to make up for our failures as leaders." Damn, that's good stuff.
And of course, you get bonus points for managing to sneak in a reference to Office Space, one of my favorite movies of all time. But it does get me thinking. If you look at a company like Zappos, they are probably somewhere in between the "small start up" and the "monolithic corporation". While they don't use the term "customer service ninjar", at least as far as I am aware, I would argue that their customer service reps could probably wear a ninja costume to work and speak with an affected "bad-kung-fu-movie-accent" without missing a beat or raising an eyebrow at work. It will be interesting to see if their quirky and over-the-top attitude to customer service will spread to the rest of Amazon.com now that they have been acquired, or if they will eventually mellow out and regress as they continue to grow bigger -- though I certainly hope not.
Thanks again for your great comment!
First of all, thanks so much for taking the time to write a comment! I really appreciate it. I'm still a little torn about your defense of ninjas. I would have no problem with "Customer Service BlackBelt", "Customer Service Judoko" even "Customer Service Ultimate Fighting Champion". But Ninas? Seriously? It's just a bit too "link bait" for me.
Now, about the whole "sucking" thing. You might be taking us out to sea in dangerous waters. I don't want to get into a whole discussion about the origin of the perjorative use of "sucks" and "blows", and whether or not it refers to fellatio, and whehter felatio is good or bad. Um, I may have already said too much. Readers can check out the book, "Slam Dunks and No-Brainers: Language in Your Life, the Media, Business, Politics, and Like, Whatever" by Leslie Savan. Enough said.
But to your last (and most important point) about users and customers deserving much more than just a bland, luke-warm, tasteless experience that doesn't give them heartburn or diarrhea" you are completely right! I'm sorry if it wasn't obvious, but I was merely being (or trying to be) ironic. But irony is a dangerous tool, especially in the hands of a novice like myself. I'll do better next time!
Yes, I agree. It is hard to go wrong with the old "under-promise and over-deliver" strategy!
I guess Zappos can afford to provide such great customer service due to all of the money they are saving on salary costs by using robots to do all of the picking and packing in their warehouse. At least until the robots unionize and go on strike demanding better benefits ;)
Sure, that's a fair question. I was hoping someone would ask, as it gives me an excuse for a follow up blog. But in short, I think we need something like a dedicated C-level office (Chief Customer Officer) as well as a Customer Management Office with responsibilitie ssimilar to the role of the PMO in project management.
The issue I have with allowing the sales organization to "own" the customer is that a sales person is trained at (and compensated based on) SELLING, not customer care or customer service. And even if salespeople were good at customer service, is that really the best use of their time? Sure, the account manager needs to know what's going on with his or her customer, but they don't need to spend their day following up on the status of open tickets and working with engineering and the customer support organization to get issues resolved.
Similarly, it isn't fair to ask the engineering or customer support organization to "own" the customer since these folks tend to be more technical and product focused. They might not have a thorogh understanding of the customer's specific industry, business process, or pain points.
That's why I would propose an customer management office staffed with people with backgrounds in product management and/or consulting who have a strong background in business with just enough technical expertise to be able to communite effectively with engineering and support to get issues escalated and resolved. Thomas, I'd be curious to hear your thoughts or opinons, especially considering your significant industry experience and expertise. Thanks.
Hi Todd, I'm actually not surprised by your observation about the lack of usage of FourSquare and Twitter at the art festival you attended. At least from my own anecdotal observations, tools like Twitter, FourSquare, and GooglePlaces are still not yet being utilized by most small businesses. And I assume this is even more so the case when dealing with busineses who typically don't rely on computers and technology as much, including artists, craftsmen, street performers, or even, (ahem) adult entertainers. For example, just the other day I checked into a Las Vegas Gentlemen's Club on FourSquare and I was surprised that no "entertainers" had set up their "location" or offered me any specials. Similarly, none of the dancers asked me to follow them on Twitter. How odd, right? Anyway, I am actually just joking about whole Gentlemen's Club example, but I think it helps drive home my point that perhaps not all "industries" have the reached the same maturity model regarding adoption of social media and location-based services -- perhaps to their own detriment. Or perhaps for good reason. Anyway, interesting post. I enjoyed reading it. Regards, John