In a great example of how companies need evolve their customer service in the new world of openness, I wanted to share this story with you. My 8 year old son, Harry, loves to draw planes. In fact, that's all he likes to draw. After drawing a couple of hundred pictures over the last six months, Harry had a great idea. He'd send one of his favorite drawings to Boeing and ask them if they'd like to build his new jet he designed. He was so passionate about it and must have rewritten the letter a dozen times. We sent it off. You can only imagine what happened.
Yep. We got the form letter, above. It's the standard fare that most legal departments send out to make sure they aren't at risk of any IP infringement issues. As a business owner, I get it. It is logical. But, my sense is that companies who don't figure out how to do customer service and innovation in the world of openness will, in the short-run, stunt their growth and, in the long-run cease to exist. And, if you don't ave any customers you certainly don't need customer service.
Some brave companies are venturing into the deep end to figure this out. Zappos, Best Buy, Nokia, Starbucks and Dell have all set up web sites to accept customer input in new and open ways. These are the leaders of the revolution. They are the early winners in the first days of the age of openness.
Now, I have a moral dilemma. Do I show the letter to Harry and kill his dream of being an airplane designer or throw it away and tell him I didn't receive anything so he keeps his artistic passion alive.
What would you do?