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petroglyphsWhat holds a country together? What makes a family more than just genetics? What ensures a farmer’s son doesn’t kill all the crops when he takes over the farm? Stories. We all tell stories to reinforce our heritage and remember the lessons our predecessors learned. These stories inspire and inform us in a way that pure instructions cannot.

Entrepreneurship and invention is full of stories. “Zuck” making it big by hacking first, asking questions later. Jobs never settling for adequate. Jack Dorsey’s intense schedule and limited sleep.

We don’t have enough of these stories in the customer space. We focus on doing our job, as I mentioned last week. We try to do good work and we don’t take enough credit for it. The problem is, we’re not learning if we’re not sharing.

Stories originated before we had text or printing presses or language. Petroglyphs carved into rocks may have communicated emotional concepts like a big hunt as well as practical knowledge like maps. This art, these stories, engaged these people and helped them gather and retain knowledge. Life improved, generation after generation, because we could build on past knowledge and stories and add to that cave wall.

I think those in the service community can do better than Paleolithic cultures.

People share best practices occasionally, but these are questionable and forgettable without the context of a story. But there are a few stories out there. Zappos’s stories get repeated until we’re sick of them, but (as I’ve said before) that’s why they’re so effective as learning tools (and good press). That’s why we put these stories (and these customer service heroes) on stage at UserConf.

Let’s keep up the trend. We have the opportunity to make our craft even more effective, efficient, and valuable. We have the opportunity to build more company support for our departments, bigger salaries for the customer service reps doing great work, and happier customers.

Share your stories. Email your staff or set up an internal blog and share great instances of support. Post them in the comments here. Tweet them to us. Blog them. Share them at our Customer Service Breakfasts.

You all have a lot to share…don’t let it go to waste!


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Photo courtesy of Juhan Sonan.

Photo courtesy of Frank Kehren.

Evan Hamilton

About Evan Hamilton