Service as Transportation

It all started with a party game…those funny “what if” social games that get sillier with late night exuberance and adult beverages.  “What fruit would they be if all pharmacists were a fruit?” asked one guest, a deeply serious pharmacist. “If lawyers were farm animals, which one would they be?” teased another guest, targeting his attorney friend.  I popped the obvious question–if customer service was a mode of transportation, what would it be?  It yielded a few interesting, yet provocative, answers.

“Service should be a limousine,” one guest commented, “helping important people get what and where they want.”  “I think a jeep,” said another, “since today’s customers have to traverse some challenging emotional terrain with all the self-service to which they are subjugated.”  There were wild suggestions of golf carts, jet planes, and motorcycles.  But, the one that prompted the most interesting discussion was the idea that service should be a tank to protect customers from bad attitudes, indifferent service and user-hostile processes.

If you asked your customers to characterize the service they receive from you as a mode of transportation, what would they choose?  And, what would their choice communicate about how you deliver customer service? Do your customers need a tank to be protected from their experience with your organization?

Check out this great customer service article in the New Yorker:


About Chip&John

Chip R. Bell and John R. Patterson are customer loyalty consultants and the authors of several best-selling books. Their newest book is "Wired and Dangerous: How Your Customers Have Changed and What to do About it."
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