The Web Is a Customer Service Medium: Understanding the Human Need for Consultation and Engagement


Hatched by Glasp

Sep 18, 2023

4 min read


The Web Is a Customer Service Medium: Understanding the Human Need for Consultation and Engagement

In today's digital age, the internet has become an integral part of our lives. We use it for various purposes, from seeking information to socializing and entertainment. But have you ever stopped to think about why we are so drawn to the web? Why do we spend hours scrolling through social media feeds or engaging in online discussions? The answer lies in the basic human need to be consulted and engaged.

Humans have an innate desire to exercise their knowledge and power, and the internet provides a platform for fulfilling this need like no other medium before. This phenomenon, often abbreviated as WWIC or "Why wasn't I consulted," is the fundamental question of the web. It encompasses concepts such as the wisdom of crowds and cognitive surplus. When people feel consulted and included, they are more likely to participate and contribute.

One prominent example of WWIC in action is Wikipedia. Created by unpaid labor, Wikipedia tapped into the human need to be consulted and never looked back. It became a free, collaborative encyclopedia that relies on the collective knowledge and contributions of its users. The success of Wikipedia demonstrates the power of engaging and consulting users to create something valuable.

Another platform that exemplifies WWIC is YouTube. Initially designed as a platform for anyone to upload and distribute videos, YouTube expanded its features to include comments and rankings. Users can now not only share their videos but also engage in discussions and rank the content. This multi-level WWIC approach has made YouTube a thriving community where people feel consulted and valued.

MetaFilter, a popular online community, takes WWIC to another level. It asks its members to filter and write up the best of the web, creating a curated space for insightful content. The focus of MetaFilter is not profit but rather moderating and managing the community. This emphasis on consultation and engagement has made MetaFilter a great read and a successful platform.

The rapidly expanding internet community Reddit has its own approach to WWIC. With a simpler form for posts and a voting system, Reddit allows users to punish or reward content and derive a view of the most popular stories and comments. It even has an "Ask Me Anything" section, providing a platform for users to consult and engage with various individuals.

The web's ability to tap into the human need for consultation and engagement has implications beyond social media and online communities. It extends to businesses and customer service. To thrive in the digital landscape, companies must create a service experience that revolves around consulting and engaging customers. Understanding and fulfilling this need can lead to increased sales and customer satisfaction.

Additionally, it is essential to define the boundaries within a community and enforce them. Punishing transgressors without fear of losing sales can help maintain a healthy and engaged community. By providing clear guidelines and fostering a sense of consultation, companies can create a space where customers feel valued and heard.

Furthermore, it is crucial not to blame individuals for looking bad in systems that are poorly designed to make them look good. Self-importance stems from systems that do not fit people comfortably. As businesses and platforms, it is essential to design user-friendly interfaces and experiences that empower and uplift users.

When it comes to new technologies, it is common for fear mongering to take hold. People tend to scapegoat these technologies for society's current problems, fearing job loss and other negative impacts. However, history has shown that every technological revolution creates more jobs than it destroys. Technology allows us to automate mundane tasks and focus on more meaningful work.

It is important to move past nostalgia and embrace the future. Everything about our lives, from the clothes we wear to the technology we use, was once considered bad by a previous generation. Progress and innovation are part of our nature as a technological species. Embracing this mindset can lead to a better understanding of the potential and possibilities that lie ahead.

In conclusion, the web serves as a powerful customer service medium because it taps into the human need for consultation and engagement. Platforms like Wikipedia, YouTube, and Reddit have successfully harnessed this need, creating thriving communities. Businesses must recognize and cater to this need to provide exceptional service and foster customer loyalty. By embracing technology and understanding its potential, we can build a better future for ourselves and future generations.

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