Is your customer service possessed?


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Like most middle aged people, I firmly believe that the only movies worth watching are those that came out in my youth.

With this in mind, I settled down for a cozy movie night of “Ghostbusters” with my husband last weekend. (For you young ‘uns out there, Ghostbusters is a movie that Bill Murray made before “Lost in Translation” and “Grand Budapest Hotel”.) It is about three ghost scientists, who save New York City from a ghost apocalypse at the hands of a gargantuan Marshmallow Man. It’s funny. Trust me.

In it, Bill Murray’s romantic interest Dana, becomes possessed by an ancient Babylonian demon called Zuul. Murray repeatedly tries to communicate with Dana but she invariably responds, in a creepy demon voice, “There is no Dana. Only Zuul!”.


Do you ever feel that way when talking to a company? When you first meet them, they seem nice enough, charming even. But when you try to communicate with them about a problem, all of sudden they turn into someone else. How many times have we heard “Please hold, your call is important to us” or “I’m sorry ma’am, there is nothing I can do”. It’s like they were possessed or something.

Really, they would be being more honest if they just said: “There is no customer service. Only ZUUL!!” But in a creepy demonic voice, instead of the slightly bored drone that we have come to know and hate.

Jim Rembuch from Beyond Morale says “Customer Experience is the company culture coming through“. In other words, no matter how hard you work to fix the outer experience, if you are still the demon Zuul deep down, your customers won’t be fooled.

You can’t hide who you really are.

Refreshing your brand, making a nicer looking website, or updating your user interface to be more modern, are all very worthwhile things. However, you should ask yourself, deep down, does your company actually care about your customers’ experience (and empower your employees to help them)?

In other words, are you just dressing up Dana in a pretty dress, or are you really, in your heart of hearts, Zuul?

(Photo credit: Shutterstock | Michael Jung)

Jana Sedivy
Jana Sedivy is Founder and Principal of Authentic Insight, a consulting practice specializing in Voice of Customer research and strategy for B2B tech companies. Over the past 17 years, she has lived at the intersection of people and technology and holds 21 patents about how to make that interaction as smooth as possible. She helps tech companies take the guesswork out of product decisions by helping them understand their customers better, providing market insights throughout the product life cycle. She is also deeply uncool but has finally made peace with it.


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