The Web Is a Customer Service Medium: How Tapping into the Human Need to be Consulted Can Lead to Success


Hatched by Glasp

Jul 25, 2023

4 min read


The Web Is a Customer Service Medium: How Tapping into the Human Need to be Consulted Can Lead to Success

In today's digital age, the internet has become a powerful medium for customer service. It taps into a fundamental human need to be consulted, engaged, and to exercise our knowledge and power. No other medium before has been able to connect with people on such a deep level. One of the most obvious examples of this is Wikipedia, a platform that was created for free by unpaid labor. It harnessed the human desire to be consulted and never looked back.

But why is it that we have this need to be consulted? It goes beyond simply wanting to have our opinions heard. It's about feeling relevant and valued in the decision-making process. When we tap into this need, we can elicit some interesting reactions. Platforms like Reddit, YouTube, and Stack Overflow have successfully done this by allowing users to contribute their thoughts, opinions, and knowledge.

However, it's important to note that not all platforms have mastered the art of WWIC (Why wasn't I consulted). Many websites and apps fall short in creating an environment that truly values user input and consultation. This can lead to frustration and dissatisfaction among users. It's crucial for businesses and content creators to understand the importance of incorporating customer service into their online presence.

Incorporating customer service into the web experience means creating a service-oriented approach to what you publish and sell. Whether you're an author, a business owner, or a content creator, it's essential to define what customer service means in your specific context and do it well. This could involve engaging with your audience, responding to their feedback and questions, and providing them with a positive experience.

Additionally, defining the boundaries of your online community is crucial. It's important to establish guidelines and enforce them to maintain a healthy and respectful environment for all users. Punishing transgressors without fear of losing sales or engagement is essential to creating a space where everyone feels consulted and valued.

Furthermore, it's important to recognize that not all online platforms are designed to make people look good. Self-importance doesn't stem from the desire to talk but rather from systems that aren't well-designed to accommodate individual needs and comfort. As content creators and platform owners, it's our responsibility to create spaces that allow individuals to express themselves comfortably and authentically.

On the other side of the spectrum, we have the concept of being useless, as explored in John Maxwell's article "How to be useless." Maxwell draws inspiration from the ancient Daoist philosophy of Zhuangzi, who argued that we can reclaim our lives and find happiness by embracing our uselessness. He challenges the notion that everything we do must serve a purpose or be useful in some way.

According to Zhuangzi, the pressure to constantly be useful can be detrimental to our well-being. We become trapped in a meritocracy that values productivity above all else. Zhuangzi suggests that we reject the idea of use altogether and instead focus on simply enjoying ourselves. He celebrates the beauty of nature, highlighting the grandeur of a gnarly tree that simply exists without serving any purpose.

Zhuangzi's philosophy challenges the utilitarian mindset that pervades our society. He argues that trying to be useful can end up being harmful to ourselves. By letting go of the need to constantly prove our worth through our usefulness, we can find true freedom and live a more fulfilled life.

Incorporating the principles of both customer service and embracing uselessness can lead to a holistic approach to life and business. By creating spaces where individuals feel consulted and valued, we can tap into their innate desire to contribute and engage. At the same time, by rejecting the pressure to constantly be useful, we can find joy in simply being and celebrating our uniqueness.

In conclusion, the web is a powerful medium for customer service, tapping into our fundamental need to be consulted and engaged. Platforms like Wikipedia and YouTube have successfully harnessed this need, while others still have room for improvement. Incorporating customer service into the online experience and defining community boundaries are essential for success. Additionally, embracing the idea of uselessness, as advocated by Zhuangzi, can lead to a more fulfilling and authentic life. By rejecting the pressure to constantly be useful, we can find freedom and celebrate our individuality. So, create spaces that value the input of others, define your community's boundaries, and remember that being useless is often the key to true happiness.

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