What’s the french for Va va voom…
The never ending story
This weekend something happened to be that I found absolutely joyful but in order to explain it to you, I will have to take you on a long and winded typical pleut flashback, so please bare with me, it’s all interconnected
Ps, these are all individual pieces, you don’t need to read one before you can understand the other.
A job for the jobless
A few months back, I was invited for to attend the assessment centre for my current job. It was going to be one based on a mixture of disciplines, so the exercises weren’t going to be technically specific, which makes life a little bit harder as you never know quite what to expect from it.
As you do, you are a lil bit shit scared about what to get ready for. But they through us a curve ball and asked us to prepare something beforehand. Of all things, it was a presentation.
So we were told to put together a 20 minute presentation on the following subject
What can you do to help achieve customer satisfaction with this company’s clients.
My immediate thoughts were
Wow. This topic is bullshit
That wow was just an audio queue to mask the sound of me pooing my pants. I was scared as MOFOOOOOO
Now I don’t come from a particular marketing background, my entire experience of ‘work’ have been technical. Customer satisfaction for me is making sure that I report my ‘research’ in a prone reportable manner and that I ‘go’ to quarterly meetings and reports and ‘present’ my shit.
The only real truth in that whole paragraph was shit. My work was shit, I won’t even lie. I got paid to do shit. Fairly well I might add. So as you can imagine I was in a bit of a cocoon to the real life expectations of the adult world.
I’ve never had to deal with a real tangible clients before, even when I had a job at the opticians, as a financial controller’s assistant, I was kept in lil shed sorting out invoices and statement trails to make sure everything was paid. I wasn’t allowed to interact with any of the actual blind folk upstairs
And boy did we get some blind folk, I remember when Justin Hawkins from the DARKNESS came in and he was flirting with the optometrist upstairs and I had to watch the whole thing on CCTV in the basement while I could hear them just above me, through the haggard death trap stair case to the basement of continually growing piles of shit.
And that is shit by the way, not a euphemism for stuff, there was a dog down there that used to cack on anything. The amount of times I nearly stapled it to the fridge, you’ll have no idea…
Anywho, the basement, It was dingy and disgusting and if only their high end customers knew that their expensive cut lenses were being cut with a hacksaw and had dog shit wiped off them earlier.
Can you believe I used to work for far less than minimum wage and that on my off days I would still go in and work for free. Even when my boss decided to finally get his hand in his wallet to pay me, he overpaid me and my honour system meant I gave some back to him. Boredom used to drive me to do some crazy shit, but then again, that was in the day before high speed wireless broadband and www.gangrapeyourgranny.com came onto the scene. Now I don’t get outta bed for nothing less than 300 ugandan sheets and a slow internet connection at home. BELIEVE IT PLAYA!!!
So back to my dillmema, I started to scratch my head about this customer satisfaction thing and I did the usual thing I’m pretty sure everyone else did.
Checked out my company profile
Copy and pasted a lot of stuff
But then my odd mind decided all of a sudden to think about it the way I would think about it. I realized that throughout this whole thing, I was doing exactly what pretty much everyone else would do. And I needed to stand out If I was serious about getting this role.
This was my first opportunity to work for a big time global energy company and throughout 4 years of job searching for this role, I had always said that All I needed was one good shot at an interview. I mean my whole motif is
‘good or bad luck was nothing but the right or wrong mix of opportunity preparation and confidence’
SO this was finally my opportunity and I had to be confident that my preparation was spot on. I would have no second chance at making this first impression
So I looked at the question as that was my only lead. Infact I studied it for days and said it over and over and over to myself. Then something started growing inside of me.
I decided to go awol on an idea. Fucking off road commando shit.
Then I reached a eureka moment, which is ironic because it was the same conclusion I had reached when I had first scene the question
This topic is bullshit.
But I saw it from above and controlled distance rather from below and in awe of now, I had transcended the question.
When I saw I transcend the question, I meant it no longer had any meaning,it had become asinine.
And here is what I mean in this particular instance.
When was the last time you have ever described being satisfied with anything with a smile on your face????
Or better yet, when was the last time you called someone out of the blue to share with them imminent news about being satisfied with a service.
Even more so, when was the last time that you wrote or called back a service provider to tell them purely that you are satisfied with what ever service they had provided you.
Need, thinking time, Your time starts now
Yeah, me neither.
A complete deconstruction of the term ‘satisfaction’ and how we relate to consumers of any product and some can even say life, made it completely redundant in an evolving company’s strategy.
And in a bold move, I decided my only chance to stand out was to tell them why adhering to it was not only complete ridiculous but how this philosophy would ultimately lead to the company’s stagnant position in the market and their overall downfall.
So with this, I then began to think of all the great stuff that I’ve had and services I’d been provided in my life and how it made me feel when I got them.
In effect, I regressed back to Christmas morning waiting for my presents. That is when i still got them. Everyone always associates the rush of excitement when getting something on Christmas with it being an isolated event, but why should it be just on one day a year you feel like that?
Shouldn’t everything you get feel like you got it on Christmas morning, isn’t that what life’s about?
And then I remembered all the pioneering products of this day and age, predominantly provided by apple and Microsoft. The gizmos, and the gadgets that have driven the younger generation into thinking they cannot function without them at all. Iwondered how they thought about customer satisfaction and the people who buy into their turd.
Regardless of how I personally feel about them, People queued for up to two weeks prior in order to get their hands on an iphone. This isn’t done by simply someone who is waiting to be satisfied by said product, said alternate customer would simply pick up something while doing their weekly shop in a supermarket if they happen to pass that isle ‘by chance’.
The tenter however will prebook his time off work, tell all their friends and family about the expodition, read every single magazine about the product, go on tv when interviewed about their loonacy and ultimately come in their pants after giving away nearly 3000 in total expenses (including holidays incurred and the over inflated price for a product), while then making a blog about how awesome it is, a youtube video and basically boasting to the entire world that they are now better off in this world with this product that you are without it. And you now smell of weiner.
These badboys on the market are known as positional goods, I’ll write aout them another time but here is a link to its definition onwikipedia, if fancy some more information on them.
And I bet my bottom dollar on the first day of any type of development for these products, The project manager doesn’t come to brief their new team saying
‘wow, let’s create something that makes people satisfied’
Folks, let’s change the fucking world by beating down the door of impossible and then drag 7 billion people along with us, kicking and screaming……in ectasy’
ANd that was when it clicked.
That’s when I thought about customer ectasy.
Ectasy as defined by good ol wiki strictly speaking is
‘Ecstasy is a subjective experience of total involvement of the subject, with an object of his or her awareness. Because total involvement with an object of our interest is not our ordinary experience since we are ordinarily aware also of other objects, the ecstasy is an example of altered state of consciousness characterized by diminished awareness of other objects or total lack of the awareness of surroundings and everything around the object. For instance, if one is concentrating on a physical task, then one might cease to be aware of any intellectual thoughts. On the other hand, making a spirit journey in an ecstatic trance involves the cessation of voluntary bodily movement.
For the duration of the ecstasy the ecstatic is out of touch with ordinary life and is capable neither of communication with other people nor of undertaking normal actions. The experience is usually brief in physical time. Subjective perception of time, space and/or self may strongly change or disappear during ecstasy. The word is also used to refer to any heightened state of consciousness or intensely pleasant experience. It is also used more specifically to denote states of awareness of non-ordinary mental spaces, which may be perceived as spiritual (the latter type of ecstasy often takes the form of religious ecstasy).’
However To me, it’s simply the 7th Sneeze after a good long stretch.
That’s what company’s need and that is what I needed to put across in my presentation
But then a weird thought popped into my head thinking I can’t go into a board meeting talking about ectasy, sure I might become a pretty good drug mule if everything went tits up but I would use this as a plan B if my future ramblings were met with nothing but silence and rolling tumble weed.
So I put the word synergy into the synonym drive and elation came up instead
and thus I had stumbled upon the concept of
I had finally found my north star
And at the time, there was only a single other web on the internet that was covering what I had came up with, so I knew i was onto something Here are a couple of sites to confirm
so i put together this great presentation which I think hit the mark and the rest is history. Infact, I think in going off route, I created quite a buzz in the panel and dare I say, I was quite elated in what I gave them. Who knew they were the unforeseen customer in this story afterall.
The point of this whole story.
Apart from you need to know your customer better than they know themselves.
Give people what they want and you will always come second. If you fail to provide what they expect, they will shoot you in the face. However give them what they’ve never even dreamed of and…they’ll worship you like Gods among men and name a dedicate a day in the name to give glory to your name.
Don’t believe me, just ask the hoff
But even after this entire thing, I think it was something else that really got the job
Seeing as if my tangent streak was working, I was given one final test to do.
Infront of everyone, We were asked, why we would be a better selection than the other candidates for this role.
After hearing everyone else’s attempts at salad tossing, It was my turn.
Without batting an eyelid, or much conscious thought, these words ushered out of my mouth, I shit you not
‘Easy, I make the best blueberry muffins’
To all the stunned gobsmaacked, silent open-mouth candidates who viewed me that day, who failed to make it through, I have a lil revelation for you…
I’ve yet to cook fuck all for these shites.
I think the turn of phrase generally voiced in this point in an anectodal refrain is…
stay tuned for the next installment of longest and most pointless story ever