Now on Usenet

Day 12. 33 pages, 15,870 words.

My newsgroup tab lit up with a brief flicker of life the other day, as a friend posted a link to what he deemed “[maybe] the stupidest article ever written about a Game of

I didn’t want to dignify the post with a crosslink, but what the heck, there it is. And I did actually want to sign up to and add my response into the comments section itself, but I guess I’m not quite ready to do more than dabble my toes in the fetid swamp that is the comments-sectioverse.

The article was funny, but didn’t really take the idea in the direction it should have.

Speaking of going back on promises, how many of Theon Grayjoy’s problems could have been avoided if he hadn’t tried so hard to look important to his father, sister, and the Iron Islanders? Self-importance and pushing your weight around won’t make you successful. Sure, nobody likes to be yelled at by an angry customer, but sometimes it happens. Encourage employees to practice compassion. It may even help to motivate them. Make it a practice to show empathy to unhappy customers. Or — like Theon — you could lose the thing that’s most precious to you.

Yes, that’s one way of looking at it. Another way is to say that if you’re going to do a job, listen to the experts in your company. Because if you, as customer service representative, start alienating your customers and bringing about the destruction of your company, those experts are going to throw you under the bus and run while they still have some market credibility.

Readers and Game of Thrones fans, what do you think we could learn about customer service from other Game of Thrones characters such as Daenerys Targaryen, Littlefinger, Varys or Stannis Baratheon? Please add your thoughts in the comments.

So I thought, yes – there’s potential here.

Daenerys: If you’re in a customer service call with somebody, stay in that call for as long as possible and don’t move on to the next one. Chances are, the longer you keep them on the line the more problems you’ll uncover together.

Littlefinger: If a customer calls up with a problem, agree to meet with them in person to sort out the problem, for which you take full responsibility. Imply heavily that you slept with the customer’s wife back when she was single and hot. Send hired goons to the agreed meeting, murder the customer, and then adopt his daughter and groom her sexually.

Varys: Find out what the customer’s real problems are. Personal problems. Legal problems. Mention them innocently during the service call. Wait for the customer to take the hint and hang up in embarrassment or fear of exposure. If customer fails to take the hint, wring your hands and sink the customer in deep shit.

Stannis: If a customer calls up with a problem, tell him you don’t give a fuck because by rights you own the entire company responsible for making whatever the product is that you’re supposed to be providing support for. Then go and solve the technical issues of some other customer, because your receptionist said it was more important.

The more I think about it, the more it seems there are lessons we can learn in A Song of Ice and Fire.

About Hatboy

I’m not often driven to introspection or reflection, but the question does come up sometimes. The big question. So big, there’s just no containing it within the puny boundaries of a single set of punctuationary bookends. Who are these mysterious and unsung heroes of obscurity and shadow? What is their origin story? Do they have a prequel trilogy? What are their secret identities? What are their public identities, for that matter? What are their powers? Their abilities? Their haunted pasts and troubled futures? Their modus operandi? Where do they live anyway, and when? What do they do for a living? Do they really have these fantastical adventures, or is it a dazzlingly intellectual and overwrought metaphor? Or is it perhaps a smug and post-modern sort of metaphor? Is it a plain stupid metaphor, hedged around with thick wads of plausible deniability, a soap bubble of illusory plot dependent upon readers who don’t dare question it for fear of looking foolish? A flight of fancy, having dozed off in front of the television during an episode of something suitably spaceship-oriented? Do they have a quest, a handler, a mission statement, a department-level development objective in five stages? I am Hatboy.
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