Bacon Ipsum

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photo credit: Ben Duchac

Stop clicking the Un-Like button

Do you know how to lose a customer in one easy step?  Continue reading and I will show you how.  When I stand in line at a coffee chain, grocery store, fast-food restaurant, etc. I am noticing a disturbing trend. People are becoming all too comfortable with  being unfriendly to one another. Have you noticed this as well?

I realize that sometimes we all have reasons (or excuses) for our behavior. Some reasons are valid, but I fear most are not. Valid reasons used to include things like finding out your spouse has cancer. Or maybe a serious disappointment has befallen us, or someone we care about.  This may result in less than optimum behavior between us and the unknowing barista who dares to tell us she’s having a great day. Instead, the reasons I overhear in conversations include things like, not getting enough social media responses to one’s faked Coachella vacation posts. Or being told that Instagram Influencer” isn’t a real job.  I mean, how dare one compares the career of self-indulgent selfie photo posting to spending 40 hours a week working as a school teacher trying to inspire the next generation.

Today, we increasingly rely on computerized machines to complete service tasks that used to be provided by real live people. We should technically have more time to do the things we enjoy, now that we have robot slaves. But we don’t. We are busier than ever engaging a screen, instead of another person.  In some cases up to 11 hours each day. As an American society, I think we are starting to treat our digital devices much, much, better than real live people.  If only people came with content filters and mute buttons — and definitely UnLike Buttons… then we could all be friends, right?

Excuse me, I need directions

There was a time I needed to ask for directions from an actual person. We engaged in a friendly exchange of salutations and information. Now I can’t walk through a city street without a GPS device calculating my steps and time to arrival.  I didn’t use to order products at Amazon in my pajamas. I got properly dressed, went outside and drove my lazy butt to a store and had to talk to salespeople.

Didn’t use to use a social app to validate my experiences or photos. Rather, I reciprocated conversation with real people in real-time.  I pulled out my wallet and showed the interested individual two or three worn faded paper photos that held significant importance for me.

Regular human interaction trains us to become better humans. —JAY FORDE

It was easy to see on their face that they “liked” my photos… my story… my jokes. Or I could see on their face and hear in their voice the sadness they expressed over a recent medical diagnosis. I could offer sympathy and perhaps empathy in real-time in real ways that they could experience and remember. I don’t know, but clicking “Sad” on a Facebook post to show “support” for a stage 4 pancreatic cancer just seems lacking. More importantly, it is training us to reduce each other’s lives to just “content” that must be evaluated.

In a twist of irony, tabletop games join a trend for ‘the real thing’ over digital – and for having fun with other people.

People are choosing activities where the involved parties agree to ditch the technology. They wait until much later to relate the experience to their social media acolytes.

There is just no comparison. Laughing out loud in person with someone else who is also laughing out loud is much more satisfying than typing LOL on a keyboard. More and more of us are looking for more and more ways to disconnect from technology and reconnect with each other.

We are better together

Regular human interaction trains us to become better humans. And when we are better humans, we perform our jobs better, because our business choices are connected to making better experiences for each other. And if the trends can be believed, maybe the next viral social media app has arrived, and it’s called classic board night at a friend’s house.

I don’t know about you, but I prefer to do business with friendly people, and I will sometimes choose a less than perfect business solution, in an exchange for great friendly customer service.  Bad business experiences are simply people who are treating each other with unfriendliness. We never forget them either.

Friendly customer service is something I provide my clients, not because of policy, but because I simply enjoy doing it, and I enjoy the friendly clients it creates. Otherwise, being unfriendly is the easiest way to lose a customer in one easy step.

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