Sometimes it’s easy to get a little cynical about digital psychology – after all, my main aim in life is to persuade my client’s customers to take actions they might not naturally be inclined to take. Sometimes, this can feel a little… Machiavellian?
But today something happened that shook me out of this way of thinking. You see, I’d forgotten something. I’d forgotten that a lot of what I call digital psychology, used to simply be called great customer service.
I was at the Metro Bank, just off Goodge Street, picking up my new bank card (how I came to bank with Metro Bank in the first place is a story for another day). The lady helping me, Priya (I’m sure she won’t mind my mentioning her name), asked me if I was heading back to work after lunch, and I replied “sadly not”, as I’d just received a text from my wife to let me know our little boy had come down with chickenpox, and I was therefore heading home to deliver medicine and much needed cuddles. Our conversation drifted onto other things, Priya took some details, and then got up to collect my new card from somewhere behind the counter.
She was gone surprisingly long, and when she returned she presented me with not only my new bank card, but a collection of lollipops, crayons, a colouring book, a ‘snap on’ luminous bracelet, some hand sanitiser, and a Metro Bank rucksack for me to put them all in, to “put a smile on your little man’s face” (well, maybe not the hand sanitiser – I think that was more for me and his mum). Now how great did that make me feel? And more importantly, how great did my little man feel when I gave it all to him?
At this point, the cynical me might try and chip in. It might try and suggest that this display of kindness and generosity is simply a ploy by Metro Bank* to engender customer loyalty through the triggering of the reciprocity heuristic (the force that makes us want to reciprocate the gift of giving, with the act of buying). But you know what? As a customer on the receiving end of that generosity, I simply don’t care about all that heuristic stuff. All I care about is that this company’s representative has made me feel good, they’ve made my son feel good, and that they’ve just secured themselves a customer for life.
Do I feel manipulated? No, of course not. I feel great, and I have Metro Bank, and more specifically, Priya, to thank for that. So thank you Metro Bank, and thank you Priya. And thanks from the little man
*Note to Metro Bank – the cynical me’s a dick. Please ignore him.