Your customers are very needy. They're upset when they call you, they're constantly looking to get free services, and would not refer you explicitly to anyone.
Since they are so difficult, you decide to change the customer service process, you make it more efficient, which means less personal - hey, who needs to be berated by customers? - and answer calls only with official-looking communications.
This could have happened even as you decided to put more time and attention into communicating with your customers, using new channels, as you think of them, to let them know about all of the great new services you're selling. Do you think you have a problem?
Drama is not the only kind of model that presupposes a collaborative effort in the modes of production and a collective form of reception. The enactment of a script is part of modern practices. What happened if instead of having a story already written, you enacted it as it comes? What if you improvised?
Improvisation allows you to put a human face on the business. It puts you in a place where time and attention are given with a specific focus on the present, what's happening now.
Our own meaning of drama comes from ancient Greece. Having studied plenty of Greek, Latin, and the classic over the years, I thought it would be fun to take a look at what kind of improvised customer service we'd have with each genre and to do so on both sides of the fence:
- tragedy - your customers have suffered a great deal over the lack of your services, a brutal offense was committed behind the scenes and you're now trying to exact justice; your customer service rep has committed the extreme human action of reciting from script and not listening
- comedy - if you're not staging an experience worth talking about, eventually your ending with customers may cause laughter; what happens when it's your customer service team that thinks it's alright to have a laugh or two at the expense of service?
- satire - this is when your customers are taking it in stride and decide to humor themselves - and their friends - by posting about what they think of you online; if your team is insolent, it may mean that it cannot face a conversation with customers
- Medieval drama - thinking about the Church of the Customer here - if you have customer evangelists, make sure that you have many of those among your team
- opera - that's when your customers have plenty of passion to get out with their story; on the company side, there may be use of smaller teams (orchestras) as a cost-cutting measure due to smaller budgets
- pantomime - the telling of stories, often improvised, which gave lessons with the crowd. Also, depending on where this is performed, the main character would change - the customer has their audience, and so does the service team.
The last one feels like the most modern of all, doesn't it? Here's the best part of all though - although to tell your story you need characters and a context, you're in control of both. In other words, if you go to the trouble of constructing a story, why not fix it so that the reality can follow up in positive and productive ways?
Today at Fast Company expert blog, we celebrate five companies that fix their story to inspire service. Where do you spend your time and attention? What kind of drama are you enacting, and how can you make it work in favor of your business and its customers?
[image from Wikipedia]