When Customer Service Equals “Blow Me”

IN: Just The Tip

Q: Why did the chicken cross the road?

A: So she didn’t make her customers feel like a bunch of tossed aside assholes, that’s why.

KIDDING. That would be a terrible joke. Please don’t tell it at parties.

But for today’s Just The Tip, I wanted to mention a Gmail app that our team is currently experimenting with called Hiver. Hiver makes it possible for all of us to—ready for this?—have shared access to multiple Gmail folders. BECAUSE FOR THE FIRST TIME SINCE KINDERGARTEN, SHARING REALLY IS CARING, YOU GUYS.

And what does that really mean for anybody?

Well, mostly it means that with Hiver, any one of us can access conversations that anyone of us have had in the past (or are having) with any customer — and even plop emails directly into each other’s Gmail inboxes if it’s more appropriate for someone else to respond to — without having to log into complicated “customer service management software” (<—that even sounds annoying), or doing the dreaded forward to sender move. (Because you know how when someone forwards you an email, you can’t just respond directly to the customer; you have to copy and paste the whole thing into a new email? Yeah. Stupid.)

So for example, with our new Life Hooky international group travel trips, if someone excitedly corresponds back and forth with Jess 16 times about all of the wonderful things they want to do with us in Costa Rica — including manhandling papayas atop a waterfall while humming “put da lime in da co-co-nut…”  But then a week later, say, that same person wants to email Carlos to arrange early arrival accommodations, or something else, like where to scale a volcano, we want Carlos to know everything that customer has ever said to Jess, or, in other words, everything about their expectations, and their hopes, and their concerns, and anything about themselves they’ve already referenced.


Because that’s how you run a god damn business, that’s why.

That’s how you make customers feel SEEN, that’s why. That’s how you make people become the most important person in the room world, that’s why.  That’s how you make people thrilled to be spending money with you, that’s why. And that’s how, in some small way, you make people feel VALIDATED. You know that’s a real human need, right? One that’s far more powerful than any bullshit sale you could ever run.

Customer service is not about answering people’s questions.

It’s not about responding to emails.

It’s not about “reducing purchasing anxiety.”

It’s not about “overcoming barriers to the sale.”

God those terms piss me off.

Customer service is about the fucking customer, okay?

(Not to be confused with fucking the customer.)

That’s why it’s called customer service—not “everyone’s a dick and I don’t have time for any of this so I’ll give you the shortest canned response I can manage in under 4 seconds so I can get back to my high-stakes game of Angry Birds.

And before you open your mouth to say, “BUT, ASH THERE ARE MUCH MORE SOPHISTICATED SYSTEMS LIKE INFUSIONSOFT AND……….STUFF!” …let me tell you what, son.

While we love Infusionsoft, and use it to handle everything from our emails to our marketing systems to our affiliate programs to our shopping carts—and even putting customer notes in their file (that’s right, we have notes on you)—sometimes, the more complicated it gets…the more complicated it gets.

The best customer service solution isn’t what cost the most, or does the most, or blows you the most.

The best customer service solution isn’t even the one that gets the job done.

The best customer service solution is the one that helps people feel like people.

Good luck automating that.