All I Could Hear Was Her Screaming ‘More!’

English: Pitney Bowes headquarters in Stamford.

English: Pitney Bowes headquarters in Stamford. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Someone once asked me what I thought about Atlanta and I said “Sherman should have finished what he started.”

I paused long enough to see if they took me seriously and then said that I have nothing but good memories of the city.

It is true, I do have good memories. I have only been there once and it was only for a brief trip but I very much enjoyed my stay.

Some of those memories are tied into the reason I went and some are because of things that happened while I was there.

The 1996 Olympics

My one and only trip to Atlanta was for the 1996 Olympics and came about because I won a sales contest.

I was working as a copier salesman for Pitney Bowes and in March of ’96 I went on a tear and sold enough units to be one of the 36 or so salespeople from around the country who were given a free ride to the Olympic games.

It was a great trip and I have lots of memories of the events I got to see. It really was awesome to see athletes like Michael Johnson compete while at their peak.

But one of the lasting memories from that trip is from the couple who stayed in the room next to mine. For three nights we were serenaded by sounds that you would normally only find in certain movies.

The Scream

My roommate’s name was Evan and I am sorry to say we didn’t keep in touch. I think he was from Detroit, but I can’t say I remember for certain. I would be curious to speak with him today to see if his memory of those moments are the same as my own.

Anyway, I remember trying to fall asleep the first night and being too excited to sleep.  I was thinking about getting up to go for a walk when all of a sudden I heard muffled voices and furniture moving.

It didn’t take long to figure out what was happening. Evan and I started to laugh and swapped silly lines.

The screaming stopped us dead in our tracks.

It was clearly female, but we weren’t sure what to make of it.  We talked about whether to go knock on the door or call downstairs and then we heard “MORE!”

She repeated it multiple times, screamed again and then went silent.

I made a crack about how it would be much easier to sell if all of our customers were that happy.

Evan and I laughed and went to sleep

A Satisfied Customer

That screaming went on every night for three nights and by the time it was over I wanted to kill them both. It went from being funny to irritating and I have wondered from time to time what was really going on.

Maybe he really was “man” enough to satisfy his woman or maybe they were just weird, I don’t really know.

What I know now is customer service is an area in which companies can distinguish themselves and very few do.  You  have to work very hard to come up with lists of great customer service experiences because there are very few to mention.

The sad thing is that you don’t have to work hard to come up with lists of poor experiences because there are many.

I suppose you can accuse me of being crude, but I wish companies would try to perform the sort of customer service that makes people scream “more.”  It would be great to hear our friends and family rave about how good company XYZ is instead of how bad they are.

Your Customers Talk and Tell Stories

That is the kind of story you want your customers to tell. You want to create the kind of loyalty that makes them scream and state they will never switch brands.

None of this is particularly profound but sadly it is not found often which is why I am talking about it today.

If you find the sweet spot your people will sing your praises. The question is are you willing to do the work to make that happen.

8 comments
Adrienne
Adrienne

Three nights in a row huh Josh! My oh my, I wonder what they were on.. A natural high perhaps? Either way, I would have felt the same as you. Funny at first and then darn mad shortly after.

But you're right, if we could all satisfy our customers in that way everyone would be successful. I know from my own experience that if you're just there for me when I need assistance you'll have me for life. No 20 million steps to get a human being on the phone and then actually help me when I do get a live person. Oh yeah, that's what I'm talking about. Some of these services these days are just horrible.

Sounds like a great trip though, I bet it was really cool to see the Olympics first hand. What an adventure (and story to tell)... ;-)

~Adrienne

Ralph
Ralph

Josh, damn! Brilliant post man.

I bet our friend Adam Toporek would love this story.

If I could only elicit that type of response I would be the king of the consulting world. The hardest thing I have ever had to do is build a team of design consultants that are purely customer focussed. Architects and Designers traditionally have egos that won't allow them to go "all in." It's all about them and their fragile egos. Poor dears.

Great story. I bet she went home happy.

Mary Stephenson
Mary Stephenson

Hi Josh

Hmm...not very sound proof rooms. Too bad they didn't give you a better place to stay for your winnings. LOL

Loyalty, customer service all the makings of satisfied customers. Dependable brand, dependable service a must. If a company does their best most of the time, they will usually be forgiven if they make a mistake once in awhile. But they need to make good on the times they don't and over compensate to correct it. One bad mistake without correction can be the worst form of advertising around. Bad news gets around a lot faster than good news.

Mary

Brian D. Meeks
Brian D. Meeks

You are right, customers do tell stories. I love talking about great experiences I've had and I'll go to great lengths to let people know who the good companies are and why. Conversely, I will unsheathe my poison pen and skewer those who have done me wrong. Even as we speak, the silence out of Feedblitz, is filling me with a rage that can only be quelled with a healthy dose of blogging rant. I will drop my angst on them like a howler monkey. (Okay, I don't know that howler monkeys are any more angst ridden than other forms of monkeys, but they do tend to howl.)

The point is, you might as well strive to make your customer love you, because if you don't, it may mean an angry bitter blog post out there for all to see.

Josh
Josh

Hi Adrienne,

I don't know what was up. The first night it started with the bed creaking and all of the stuff you "hear" in the movies and then she started screaming. It really was funny, but by the end...not so much.

The 20 million steps to reach a live person is a perfect example. Sometimes you just want to talk to someone so that you can get an answer to a quick question. It is just infuriating to have to work twice as hard.

It really was a great trip overall, amazing time.

Josh
Josh

Hi Ralph,

We thought the screaming was so funny we mentioned it to the group and one night had a half dozen people in our room laughing along with us. It was something else. If it was real I can tell you I stand in awe of this man who had the sort of stamina that would make adult stars feel like amateurs.

Anyhoo, if you did elicit that sort of response you would never lose customers to competitors because they would never feel the need to go elsewhere. There is something to be said for that.

Josh
Josh

Hi Mary,

No, not soundproof at all. It was a very nice place, but the walls were thin.

I can't speak for anyone but me but when a company does their best to take care of my needs I remember and appreciate it, even if they fall short.

I see it as a question of whether they make us feel valued or not.

Josh
Josh

That bitter, angry blog post can have the sort of shelf life you don't want to ignore so it really is in your interest to do what you can to help those hurt feelings hurt a little bit less.

And likewise those great experiences go a long way to making people feel more comfortable and willing to do business with you. That is worth a lot.