Marketwired Blog

Stop trying to make your customers smarter!

Stop trying to make your customers smarter!

This guest post is courtesy of Peter Shankman (@petershankman), CEO, angel investor, entrepreneur and one of six expert contributors to Marketwired’s 2015 PR Wish List.

Waiting for a flight home from Bangkok a few weeks ago, I found myself leaving the lounge at the same time as a lovely elderly woman from Chicago who was headed home after being part of a two-week group tour around Thailand.

We struck up a conversation (of course we did, dear reader, do you not know me? I talk to EVERYONE!), and as I offered to carry her bag to the gate, we compared seats. She showed me her ticket, and she was sitting two seats in front of me. I told her that my ticket was on my phone, and she commented about how she was afraid that her ticket would be digital, but she didn’t have a phone that worked in Thailand, and there was a part of her that didn’t think she’d be able to get on the flight.

Fortunately, when she got to the airport, she checked in and by showing her passport, was given paper tickets that would get her all the way home. (That there was a strapping young gentleman like myself available to carry her bags was a bonus. :=)

So why do I bring this up? Because sometimes, in our rush to embrace the latest and greatest in technology, we occasionally forget about some of our core customers – or at the very least, leave them worried that we are leaving them behind.

Fortunately, United didn’t do that, and when my new friend checked in, her fears were immediately put to rest. Can you say the same thing about every one of your customers?

At the end of the day, we’re beholden to our customers – not the other way around. It might be nice to adopt the latest mobile technology but hey, if you have a customer who paid, like, $11,000 for a round-trip ticket on your airline, you damn well better offer her the options that she wants. United did that. Does your company?

Do you want customers who will do your PR for you? Customers who will tell the world how great you are, and bring you future customers? Then don’t forget customers like my new friend Rita who, despite being 81-years-old and traveling on her own, still prefers the paper ticket.

Want to learn how to get customers like that? Well, my new book on customer service, aptly named Zombie Loyalists, drops on January 27th, 2015. Go to and check it out. (You can even get a whole bunch of cool gifts, because that’s what Zombie Loyalists deserve.)

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