A seven-year old kid loses a critical LEGO game piece (a central protagonist character) and, rather than shrugging it off or purchasing a new kit (you can't just buy the one character), he writes a letter to LEGO.
Stop right there and change the words. Imagine it is you, asking for support with your car's power windows, or your PC's software, or the shirt you received as a gift. Make it REAL to you.
OK, back to the kid. He sends a message to an unimaginable, monolithic, corporation that has no face, personality, or ... or ANYTHING (as far as he knew at the moment). It must have been a bit scary, hopeful, hopeless, and more.
Now, back to you. Honestly, don't you (don't we all) have the EXACT SAME feelings when we communicate with our car manufacturer, PC maker, and major retailer. Frankly, we expect to be processed like sausage.
THE MOMENT OF TRUTH:
We all know that earning a new customer is much more expensive than retaining an existing customer. And we also know that, after placing our trust in a person or a company, being shunned, disrespected, or ignored really hurts. So, what did LEGO do with the kid's letter? They made magic.
What happened next is that Richard, a LEGO service rep, received the letter and went into character. From the perspective of living in the LEGO playland fantasy, with the ability to have a childlike imagination, and with total commitment to the story of Ninjago and the Ultrasonic Rider, Richard "consulted" with "Sensei Wu" and made magic. He gained "special permission" (from the revered sensei) to not only craft a unique version of the story's hero, but he also threw in special weapons and a special bad guy. In essence, he went into the customer's mind.
Richard began with an existing customer, a customer who did the preliminary research and who put his trust (and money) into LEGO. A customer who really committed to the brand. Richard then went into character - he entered the customer's mind. Richard did NOT follow company orders, nor did he do what all the other service reps do in similar situations. Instead, Richard became the customer, he felt the customer's pain, he imagined the resolution that the customer was seeking, evaluated the costs and consequences, and went exactly where he should have gone. In essence, in this moment, Richard became a bit of a super hero, himself.
What if your car manufacturer consulted with the team that actually designed and built your windows? What if you called your software company and the programmer talked you through the issue - in YOUR words, at YOUR speed, and met YOUR goals? What if your clothing retailer understood the significance of your gift and pulled out all the stops to help you? What if these people went into character as THE SPECIAL PERSON, the super hero, who could satisfy, even delight, you?
THE MOMENT OF YOU:
What if we, in the business to business world, do the same? What is to stop us from going into character? What if we become the superhero who can connect to any department and person in our extended organization, the person who digs for THE answer, the person who champions the customer's desires, needs, expectations - even hopes?
If we all begin pretending that we are super heroes, and if we do it wholeheartedly - for long enough, we will eventually BE those heroes. Consistently, automatically, rewardingly.