4/19/2006

Consumer Brandon

Posted by Brandon |

I don't mean to make my blog all Paul Davidson, all the time. But I have been reading his book Consumer Joe lately and it has hit too close to home for me. I basically have the same job as all of the corporate lackey customer relations specialists that so generically respond to his outrageous questions, and this book makes me sad for my semi-chosen profession (or temporary time filler, as I like to refer to it).

Why does public relations and customer service have to be so boring? Whenever I receive comments and questions like David Paulson's I can't help but get creative and a little crazy right back at them. Sometimes it is the only way to respond to the crazies like Consumer Joe and have them understand what you are talking about.

Sometimes I do it unsolicited. The other day I told a big long story in an email to a customer about how a truck containing some of our backordered item was hijacked en route to our warehouse and that the products were being held for ransom. I also responded to another customer's question explaining that magical pixies applied their free coffee to their order between the time they placed the order and when we shipped it.

At Archie McPhee I would come across old orders in the computer complete with page long letters addressed to customers regarding problems with their order that read more like dungeons and dragons stories, fairy tales or twisted history books. I'm sure that Archie customers appreciated these stories more than anybody, but ever since then I have incorporated stories like those into my correspondence with customers. I was a little afraid that my yuppie coffee drinkers wouldn't appreciate my humor, but so far, the reaction has been great and I plan to continue with this style from here on out.

Telling terrible stories and being a goofball is just who I am and it occasionally translates into my work. I think a personal response, no matter how looney tunes it is goes a long ways. It doesn't really matter what you say in an email to a customer, just as long as you eventually truthfully address their concerns and make everything right by them.

I don't know how the customer service reps in Paul's book could bear to do their jobs in such a uniform, dull way or how they think that it is good customer service to do so (and customer service has suffered massively over the past few years because of it, but that is a subject for a whole other post).

People are crazy, and if you are going to try to relate to them, you have to be just as crazy, if not crazier. Isn't that the dictionary definition of the term "customer relations"?

2 comments:

kapgar said...

So, any chance that any of the responses in Consumer Joe actually came from you? Now that would be funny. I'd probably send the book to both you and Pauly for autographs if that were the case.

Paul said...

The ironic thing is this -- consumers LOVE to receive personalized comments from people like you. In fact, the best ones in the book are when the reps have fun with it as well.

So you keep doing what you're doing and don't let no corporate CEOs tell you how to do your job!

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