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I wanted to make sure you all knew that I am Frank, not 4123 1234 5678 9012

Posted on : 28-01-2010 | By : Frank Eliason | In : Business, Customer Service, Technology

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We all have cravings for an emotional connection to others, yet the majority of our life we steer clear of these connections. How has the computer age impacted your life? I think the majority of us would say it has made life easier, opened up numerous doors of knowledge, and the internet has brought about so many more connections to people we would have never had the opportunity to meet. It has also brought about the depersonalization of society in many ways. When you look at messages to each other, they are not the long love letters that we have seen in so many movies. They are short email messages, or better yet text messages to the ones we love. How personal are our connections in social media? Do you share your most intimate thoughts or are your messages a bit more controlled? I would assume the latter.

Many people who know me well would probably not consider me the most emotional person, and the outward person I portray may show that. But we all are human and there is a human need to connect with others, seek approval from others, a few nice words, and in some cases a few negative words. It helps us meet this emotional need.

So what does this all have to do with anything? As I mentioned in my last post, I am reading Seth Godin’s book Linchpin, and it is really make me think about a lot of things. In the book he basically says we are still in the industrial world, and as part of our job we are the factory workers, the cogs in the wheel. I have thought a lot about this, and where did it all come from. In some ways I think we evolved into more of the factory scenario, but I would have to do a lot more research to confirm that. I am not saying the dictating from the top down was not there, because it was, but they process side of everything we do, in my opinion, is part of a depersonalization that has been happening for a long time. For most companies, especially the larger ones, people are not known by there name, but instead there employee number. Hi I am 12345678, pleased to meet you. Before computers I would guess I was still Frank. I would bet it is easier to layoff 12345678, then it would be to lay off Frank or Jane or Jim or Jason and the list goes on and on. I would also guess that when an employee is not as much a number, but instead a person, the amount of emotional value they would add to the organization would be much greater. They could become that artist that transforms the organization or creates the next big product or completely wins over your Customer. But instead today, many do not invest any, or very little emotion, and there is minimal connection to the company.

So we were just talking about employees, but what about Customers? Well I know I am a number at most places I do business with. The funny thing is Customer data that companies have is enormous, yet none of it builds an emotional connection or emotional understanding of the Customer. Many companies have Voice of the Customer programs, which has some roots in the Six Sigma quality improvement process. The interesting thing about Six Sigma is everything is about data and numbers, but they call it “Voice of the Customer. I have been trained in Six Sigma, and I do see some of the value it created in organizations, but I wonder how much emotional value it removed from an organization. The concept converts everything into data and hopefully the data will guide you through the process. Wow, that sounds like cogs in the wheel doesn’t it? Seth, you may have some strong points in your book! Even those doing the project have no emotional connection. Anyway, back to the Customer. The leaders in the organization only have one connection to the Customer and that is the data that is shared with them everyday. That is not very emotional. That is why companies have not changed the Customer experience much over the years, except in some cases getting worse. No emotional connection to make sure it was right. That is why I have always emphasized the Customer story. Executives, and employees are tired of pure data, and the story from that data has not always created the right decisions. So if you want to improve your organization, share the Customer’s story, make that emotional connection, and I can guarantee you that change will happen!
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BTW, I wanted to make sure you all knew that I am Frank, not 4123 1234 5678 9012 or 12345678