Design Diary Message Strategy

Cliché of the Week: Debbie, the Time Life Operator

You’ve known Debbie for years. She’s been there for you since you were a little kid, waiting patiently at the other end of an 800 number to fulfill your most urgent needs: that night when you just had to have the Mysteries of the Unknown collection or that rainy Sunday when you couldn’t live without the comforting sounds of AM Gold or Sounds of the Eighties.

Debbie’s been a constant in your life. You’ve seen her friendly smile in magazine ads, infomercials, even websites.

And now Debbie has migrated to PowerPoint slides.

When I polled our amazing team of Duarte Designers on their favorite clichés, this one scored in the top five. We see pictures of Debbie so often she feels a little like family to us. She even called us on the phone once.

Yeah, really. Debbie called us on the phone. You know what she said?

Debbie: I appreciate all the attention, guys. But I’m really sick of this work. The pay is crappy, and I’m tired of having my teeth whitened. I just want to spend the rest of my life sucking down Piña Coladas on the beach in Cabo. Please let me retire…

And there you have it. She doesn’t want the job any more! So let’s allow Debbie to fade away into the sunset, and find a new way to express the idea of “friendly customer service”.

I gave out the answers last time. How about we hear some alternate ideas from our readers this time?

I’ll even make it interesting: FREE PRIZE!

Here’s the deal:

  1. Add a comment that features an alternate idea to using Debbie in your presentation.
  2. We’ll randomly select three commenters to win a copy of slide:ology (autographed by Nancy).
  3. Contest ends one week from today. We’ll notify the winners via e-mail.

Good luck!

Doug Neff

AUTHOR |

Related Posts

  • Reminds me of George Chen, a.k.a. The Internet Guy. See http://www.clementmok.com/musings/detail.asp?ItemID=4

  • Reminds me of George Chen, a.k.a. The Internet Guy. See http://www.clementmok.com/musings/detail.asp?ItemID=4

  • Luis Oliveira

    Ahhhh… thanks.

    This goes side by side with the ads (and presentations) of beachside or poolside laptop operators …

    Who is so derranged as to open a laptop at the beach? Almost as sad as the guy who opens a blank ppt screen at the airport, 15 min before departure, and stars typing bullet points.

  • Luis Oliveira

    Ahhhh… thanks.

    This goes side by side with the ads (and presentations) of beachside or poolside laptop operators …

    Who is so derranged as to open a laptop at the beach? Almost as sad as the guy who opens a blank ppt screen at the airport, 15 min before departure, and stars typing bullet points.

  • Dan

    If you must stick with the theme, how about the 8-9-0 on a rotary phone?

  • Dan

    If you must stick with the theme, how about the 8-9-0 on a rotary phone?

  • Luis Oliveira

    BTW, “friendly customer service”, the expression or the concept, should not be in a presentation. Period. Never.

    This is one of those empty promisses (even if not so) that will detract from your credibility. Only make promisses that you can keep.

  • Luis Oliveira

    BTW, “friendly customer service”, the expression or the concept, should not be in a presentation. Period. Never.

    This is one of those empty promisses (even if not so) that will detract from your credibility. Only make promisses that you can keep.

  • Doug Mikaelian

    Instead of “Debbie” for “friendly customer service” – how about a picture of a winning lottery ticket?

    That’s certainly how I feel whenever I received friendly customer service – like I’ve won the lottery.

    Pretty sad, but true.

  • Doug Mikaelian

    Instead of “Debbie” for “friendly customer service” – how about a picture of a winning lottery ticket?

    That’s certainly how I feel whenever I received friendly customer service – like I’ve won the lottery.

    Pretty sad, but true.

  • It may sound more like an airport concourse poster ad, but what about this: an image of a somewhat disheveled young woman, who should have a frustrated facial expression, but instead is just barely starting to crack a smile, looking a little startled as she looks out of the side of her eyes….

    …surrounded by a crowd of frozen, hovering folks in various postures of intensely focused readiness.

  • It may sound more like an airport concourse poster ad, but what about this: an image of a somewhat disheveled young woman, who should have a frustrated facial expression, but instead is just barely starting to crack a smile, looking a little startled as she looks out of the side of her eyes….

    …surrounded by a crowd of frozen, hovering folks in various postures of intensely focused readiness.

  • Or an over the customer service agent’s shoulder shot, of a tired but vastly relieved person’s face, the expression saying, thank you so very much, you’ve just saved me.

  • Or an over the customer service agent’s shoulder shot, of a tired but vastly relieved person’s face, the expression saying, thank you so very much, you’ve just saved me.

  • Jason

    Assuming this was a presentation that I was creating to show how my company is doing great in customer service. How about the following:

    a close up picture of mouth speaking into the receiver of a phone. this fades out and the next picture of a close up shot taking notes on a computer or notes in a notepad.

  • Jason

    Assuming this was a presentation that I was creating to show how my company is doing great in customer service. How about the following:

    a close up picture of mouth speaking into the receiver of a phone. this fades out and the next picture of a close up shot taking notes on a computer or notes in a notepad.

  • Joe

    A golden retriever with a newspaper or slippers in its mouth.

  • Joe

    A golden retriever with a newspaper or slippers in its mouth.

  • Rodrigo

    A F1 race with a car in boxes and the boxes team working in the car. The boxes team is the best customer service in the world.

  • Rodrigo

    A F1 race with a car in boxes and the boxes team working in the car. The boxes team is the best customer service in the world.

  • Jason

    A couple of thoughts that take this in a different a different direction.

    1) One thought is that to provide service, people sometimes think of serving in an army. You could display a creative illustration showing that customer service agents are the foot soldiers of your company. They could be in army fatigue and in the trenches and then fade into a picture of the same people answering the phones for the company.

    2) When people hear the word service – a common thought is to think about how you regularly get your car serviced. You could display a creative illustration showing customers coming into ‘shop’ and getting taken care of by an expert.

  • Jason

    A couple of thoughts that take this in a different a different direction.

    1) One thought is that to provide service, people sometimes think of serving in an army. You could display a creative illustration showing that customer service agents are the foot soldiers of your company. They could be in army fatigue and in the trenches and then fade into a picture of the same people answering the phones for the company.

    2) When people hear the word service – a common thought is to think about how you regularly get your car serviced. You could display a creative illustration showing customers coming into ‘shop’ and getting taken care of by an expert.

  • Carlos

    What’s behind the trademark? …. Our people

  • Carlos

    What’s behind the trademark? …. Our people

  • Hmm, it all obviously depends on context.

    But what about:

    * a “pooper-scooper” image — cleaning up other people’s messes.
    * a crossing guard or similar (kind of a cliche itself)
    * mother Theresa or similar image of someone who sacrifices to actually serve others
    * old self-serve gas station sign with the word self crossed out

  • Hmm, it all obviously depends on context.

    But what about:

    * a “pooper-scooper” image — cleaning up other people’s messes.
    * a crossing guard or similar (kind of a cliche itself)
    * mother Theresa or similar image of someone who sacrifices to actually serve others
    * old self-serve gas station sign with the word self crossed out

  • I like Ramm’s pooper-scooper idea above. Awesome.

    I tend to shy away from people in general, because it never feels quite right. Feels fake. And I’m big on objects, since they can be taken a few different ways. So when I think of warm / friendly office types, I think bowl of candy. A nice bowl of simple candies.

    Maybe it’s just me.

  • I like Ramm’s pooper-scooper idea above. Awesome.

    I tend to shy away from people in general, because it never feels quite right. Feels fake. And I’m big on objects, since they can be taken a few different ways. So when I think of warm / friendly office types, I think bowl of candy. A nice bowl of simple candies.

    Maybe it’s just me.

  • What about using Debbie in a course on powerpoint presentations design and telling the audience that this is an example of a cliché…je je

  • What about using Debbie in a course on powerpoint presentations design and telling the audience that this is an example of a cliché…je je

  • Brian Kuiper

    How about a warmly set dining table with the chair in the foreground open, as if to invite the viewer to sit at the table?

  • Brian Kuiper

    How about a warmly set dining table with the chair in the foreground open, as if to invite the viewer to sit at the table?

  • Fabian

    My favourite idea: the golden retriever mentioned above.

    I suggest a photo showing a kid on a bicycle equipped with training wheels. It should be a low-angle shot (worm’s-eye view), focused on the extra wheels (therefor the rest of the picture is slightly blured).

    Such a photo would meet at least one aspect of “friendly customer service”: the support.

  • Fabian

    My favourite idea: the golden retriever mentioned above.

    I suggest a photo showing a kid on a bicycle equipped with training wheels. It should be a low-angle shot (worm’s-eye view), focused on the extra wheels (therefor the rest of the picture is slightly blured).

    Such a photo would meet at least one aspect of “friendly customer service”: the support.

  • Good customer services is a drug that calms you down and makes you smile. A bottle of happy pills with a big yellow smiley face and the words customer service in small but legible letters underneath would do just fine for me.

  • Good customer services is a drug that calms you down and makes you smile. A bottle of happy pills with a big yellow smiley face and the words customer service in small but legible letters underneath would do just fine for me.

  • Gary Pyke

    How about…

    A red hot phone badged Customer Service, a Bat Man spotlight sign, a hand picking up a call with a timer in the background, a stick of rock/candy cane with Customer Service written through it, a happy customer walking away with the team in the background waving and smiling, a CS on a Superman cape, a smile with the words ‘We’re waiting’, a book cover with Simply the Best on it.

  • Gary Pyke

    How about…

    A red hot phone badged Customer Service, a Bat Man spotlight sign, a hand picking up a call with a timer in the background, a stick of rock/candy cane with Customer Service written through it, a happy customer walking away with the team in the background waving and smiling, a CS on a Superman cape, a smile with the words ‘We’re waiting’, a book cover with Simply the Best on it.

  • 1. Humble Roadsweeper sweeping the streets, with a “speaking bubble” saying “Good Morning, have a nice day!” to passer-bys who smile back with another “thinking bubble”, thinking “Wow! such a friendly dude!”

    2. An patron at a hotel giving a name card sized “Friendly Service” card to a waiter who serves him a drink and says “Good morning Mr Jenkins, here’s your usual cuppa with less milk”

    3. Waiter with a “Smiley Button Head” holding a tray and walking down an aisle. Or a Debbie picture replaced with a “Smiley Button Head” instead

  • 1. Humble Roadsweeper sweeping the streets, with a “speaking bubble” saying “Good Morning, have a nice day!” to passer-bys who smile back with another “thinking bubble”, thinking “Wow! such a friendly dude!”

    2. An patron at a hotel giving a name card sized “Friendly Service” card to a waiter who serves him a drink and says “Good morning Mr Jenkins, here’s your usual cuppa with less milk”

    3. Waiter with a “Smiley Button Head” holding a tray and walking down an aisle. Or a Debbie picture replaced with a “Smiley Button Head” instead

  • Maybe Debbie is just tired of being the only one working. Often times when you are on hold for 20 minutes you wonder if she is out to lunch. How about showing numerous people running and reaching for the phone, and of course smiling.

    Or how about the old cliche of a butler holding a covered serving tray.

    Last one…how about going the Geico route and create a character of sorts. If Esurance can sell car insurance using cartoons….oh I got it why not animate Debbie.

  • Maybe Debbie is just tired of being the only one working. Often times when you are on hold for 20 minutes you wonder if she is out to lunch. How about showing numerous people running and reaching for the phone, and of course smiling.

    Or how about the old cliche of a butler holding a covered serving tray.

    Last one…how about going the Geico route and create a character of sorts. If Esurance can sell car insurance using cartoons….oh I got it why not animate Debbie.

  • 1) A B&W image of a vintage grocery store counter.

    2) A real picture of a few real call center employees standing in the real call center with real names, subtitle: “John, Harry, and Debby having a coffee before starting the 2am shift”

  • 1) A B&W image of a vintage grocery store counter.

    2) A real picture of a few real call center employees standing in the real call center with real names, subtitle: “John, Harry, and Debby having a coffee before starting the 2am shift”

  • Jan: I actually used an image of a vintage grocery store counter to illustrate the notion 🙂

    how about a pub, or a restaurant?
    a high-end country club?
    a beauty parlor?
    a kinesiotherapist ?

    in all these cases people will welcome you warmly, fulfill your need, and let you walk away with a smile.

    that’s how i understand “friendly customer service”.

  • Jan: I actually used an image of a vintage grocery store counter to illustrate the notion 🙂

    how about a pub, or a restaurant?
    a high-end country club?
    a beauty parlor?
    a kinesiotherapist ?

    in all these cases people will welcome you warmly, fulfill your need, and let you walk away with a smile.

    that’s how i understand “friendly customer service”.

  • To build on Jan’s suggestion: the smiling mug of a real live executives who is dedicated to customer service.

    I love how Craig Newmark from craigslist says his title is “Customer Service Rep & Founder.” If your company believes so deeply in service that you want to use “Debbie” in a presentation, shouldn’t you put the buck-stops-here person front-and-center?

  • To build on Jan’s suggestion: the smiling mug of a real live executives who is dedicated to customer service.

    I love how Craig Newmark from craigslist says his title is “Customer Service Rep & Founder.” If your company believes so deeply in service that you want to use “Debbie” in a presentation, shouldn’t you put the buck-stops-here person front-and-center?

  • How about 3 pictures of somebody pulling a paper towel, cleaning the sink, then throwing away a paper towel in an airplane rest room? The best customer service is the stuff that we do when nobody is watching.

  • How about 3 pictures of somebody pulling a paper towel, cleaning the sink, then throwing away a paper towel in an airplane rest room? The best customer service is the stuff that we do when nobody is watching.

  • Greg Sweet

    Well here’s the thing — I couldn’t think of anything better. I’ve been at it for more than 24 hours and I can’t shake the image of Debbie. Further, I wandered about my ofice and asked people to give me the first image that came to mind when I said “friendly customer service” and everyone answered with Debbie.

    I don’t cosider myself a design professional, but rather a professional who must do good design to be successfull, hence why I read blogs like Slide:ology and Presentation Zen, and most of my colleagues would think of themselves the same way. And I think some of these cliches are just so ingrained in our collective psyche that we just can’t shake them. Heck I think the puppy and the service counter are just as cliche as Debbie, but I haven’t come up with anything better so…

  • Greg Sweet

    Well here’s the thing — I couldn’t think of anything better. I’ve been at it for more than 24 hours and I can’t shake the image of Debbie. Further, I wandered about my ofice and asked people to give me the first image that came to mind when I said “friendly customer service” and everyone answered with Debbie.

    I don’t cosider myself a design professional, but rather a professional who must do good design to be successfull, hence why I read blogs like Slide:ology and Presentation Zen, and most of my colleagues would think of themselves the same way. And I think some of these cliches are just so ingrained in our collective psyche that we just can’t shake them. Heck I think the puppy and the service counter are just as cliche as Debbie, but I haven’t come up with anything better so…

  • Lisa

    How about the following:

    A superhero flying towards you with executive suit on, hands are pulling away blazer and shirt, superhero suit underneath is revealed, it has “CS” for Customer Service emblazoned on the chest (think Superman).

    an opposite direction that may be even more engaging would be to have a clown in makeup, juggling, mucking it up, etc. Then a “No Bozos” here text block and crossed out circle comes up over the clowns, this and clowns is replaced with inviting text explaining the positive, effective customer service that is provided.

    2 sets of hands holding/looking at a map, 1 set pointing with a pen, making notes, directing.

  • Lisa

    How about the following:

    A superhero flying towards you with executive suit on, hands are pulling away blazer and shirt, superhero suit underneath is revealed, it has “CS” for Customer Service emblazoned on the chest (think Superman).

    an opposite direction that may be even more engaging would be to have a clown in makeup, juggling, mucking it up, etc. Then a “No Bozos” here text block and crossed out circle comes up over the clowns, this and clowns is replaced with inviting text explaining the positive, effective customer service that is provided.

    2 sets of hands holding/looking at a map, 1 set pointing with a pen, making notes, directing.

  • pel

    I like the golden retriever idea a lot – but maybe it should be a st. Bernard dog with a cognac barell (with a red cross) around it’s neck

  • pel

    I like the golden retriever idea a lot – but maybe it should be a st. Bernard dog with a cognac barell (with a red cross) around it’s neck

  • Arne

    Why not do away with the whole Debbie idea, and focus on what customer support is about: communication. For phone support show a picture of a phone, and for email support show a computer.

    Another thing that I often find more difficult than getting friendly customer service, is getting customer service in the first place. Show a direction sign reading “Support” and some arbitrary short measure of time or distance. You could even use an old photo and photoshop it.

  • Arne

    Why not do away with the whole Debbie idea, and focus on what customer support is about: communication. For phone support show a picture of a phone, and for email support show a computer.

    Another thing that I often find more difficult than getting friendly customer service, is getting customer service in the first place. Show a direction sign reading “Support” and some arbitrary short measure of time or distance. You could even use an old photo and photoshop it.

  • Christian

    I work for a software vendor and I do lots of presentations for customers and resellers were I talk about our company and our services, values etc.

    In the most recent customer survey our company scored 4.6 out of 5, which is really good, and I wanted to use it in a presentation. But I didn’t want to illustrate that with pictures from the corporate image library, with your cliché set of stylish pictures, smiling faces and service minded Debbie’s.

    So instead I took sort of a dramatic picture of some of the desks on an extremely chaotic and intense day. Coffee cups, water bottles, rolled up sleeves, a colleague half motion blurred with the phone against her shoulder while taking notes and smiling for the camera… well you get the picture.

    The score 4.6 was shown, while switching to a picture of some colleagues laughing, talking and relaxing in our lounge area.

    I believe that those pictures, together with my words, gave the audience an image they can relate to and that they felt was real. And even though we work our asses off (like everybody else) we have fun and we always have time for our customers.

  • Christian

    I work for a software vendor and I do lots of presentations for customers and resellers were I talk about our company and our services, values etc.

    In the most recent customer survey our company scored 4.6 out of 5, which is really good, and I wanted to use it in a presentation. But I didn’t want to illustrate that with pictures from the corporate image library, with your cliché set of stylish pictures, smiling faces and service minded Debbie’s.

    So instead I took sort of a dramatic picture of some of the desks on an extremely chaotic and intense day. Coffee cups, water bottles, rolled up sleeves, a colleague half motion blurred with the phone against her shoulder while taking notes and smiling for the camera… well you get the picture.

    The score 4.6 was shown, while switching to a picture of some colleagues laughing, talking and relaxing in our lounge area.

    I believe that those pictures, together with my words, gave the audience an image they can relate to and that they felt was real. And even though we work our asses off (like everybody else) we have fun and we always have time for our customers.

  • Matt

    As mentioned previously, it really depends on the context.

    When I think about service – I think about stay-at-home mums and dads.

    Involved and committed parents give everything (plus a bit more) to serve their children.

    That being said . . . I think the best way to highlight good customer service is to include pics of real call centre staff (yep, the ones actually responsible for providing this service – real people lol) with short one sentence audio clips that actually show the great service being provided.

    Finally, not sure which planet I am from but I do not think of Debbie when I think of good cs 🙂

  • Matt

    As mentioned previously, it really depends on the context.

    When I think about service – I think about stay-at-home mums and dads.

    Involved and committed parents give everything (plus a bit more) to serve their children.

    That being said . . . I think the best way to highlight good customer service is to include pics of real call centre staff (yep, the ones actually responsible for providing this service – real people lol) with short one sentence audio clips that actually show the great service being provided.

    Finally, not sure which planet I am from but I do not think of Debbie when I think of good cs 🙂

  • Blaise

    First thought:
    A picture of a call center; row upon row of desks, and sitting at them, on the phone…butlers, preferably very stuffy looking.

    Better thought:
    A shot of two kids, from behind–one is standing on the other’s shoulders to peek over a wall. Alternately, one is boosting the other (it should look very uncomfortable) so he can grab a piece of fruit that would be otherwise out of reach.

    I like the boosting theme, so I’m going with it: Close-up shot of a pair of wingtip dress shoes standing on the shoulders of someone with a headset in their ear.

  • Blaise

    First thought:
    A picture of a call center; row upon row of desks, and sitting at them, on the phone…butlers, preferably very stuffy looking.

    Better thought:
    A shot of two kids, from behind–one is standing on the other’s shoulders to peek over a wall. Alternately, one is boosting the other (it should look very uncomfortable) so he can grab a piece of fruit that would be otherwise out of reach.

    I like the boosting theme, so I’m going with it: Close-up shot of a pair of wingtip dress shoes standing on the shoulders of someone with a headset in their ear.

  • Some really awesome and creative suggestions here, everyone! We LOVE reading them.

    And see how some of the suggestions have inspired others to go further? That’s how it works. Keep them coming…

  • Some really awesome and creative suggestions here, everyone! We LOVE reading them.

    And see how some of the suggestions have inspired others to go further? That’s how it works. Keep them coming…

  • Stéphane

    I think that instead of an attractive and smiling young lady the message would go through more efficiently if you were seeing someone very ordinary (say a very average looking 55 years-old lady, a middle-aged balding man with not-very-ggod teeth) actually doing something useful in relationship with the service – even for remote service (searching books while on the phone, tipping an invoice – paper!). Or even show the type of guy, not necessarily smiling, whom you’d rather not meet at night in a deserted street. Ordinary people obviously making more than providing smiles and sweet words. As a customer, I appreciate people that make a little more than what they are paid for – even if they grumble.

  • Stéphane

    I think that instead of an attractive and smiling young lady the message would go through more efficiently if you were seeing someone very ordinary (say a very average looking 55 years-old lady, a middle-aged balding man with not-very-ggod teeth) actually doing something useful in relationship with the service – even for remote service (searching books while on the phone, tipping an invoice – paper!). Or even show the type of guy, not necessarily smiling, whom you’d rather not meet at night in a deserted street. Ordinary people obviously making more than providing smiles and sweet words. As a customer, I appreciate people that make a little more than what they are paid for – even if they grumble.

  • To me, customer service/support equals ‘help’.

    So I would like to see Debbie replaced with an action shot of a firefighter racing out of a burning house with a child in his arms.

  • To me, customer service/support equals ‘help’.

    So I would like to see Debbie replaced with an action shot of a firefighter racing out of a burning house with a child in his arms.

  • Richard

    How about a boy nerd and a matching girl nerd, sitting side by side at a help desk. “They’re not much to look at, but they rule at service.”

    Or a grandma offering a plate of chocolate chip cookies. ” Just as caring as Grandma…but you’ll have to bake your own cookies”

    Or, some kind of tough, enforcer kind of guy. “Bruno is here to ensure you receive ultimate customer service…. kapeesh?”

    More serious ideas:

    A GPS unit that is pointing the way to answers / Point B / Destination. A modern way of saying we will get you to where you want to go.

    A sherpa / mountain guide kind of character that has printers / monitors / in-boxes on his back. Kind of a “put the burden on us, and we’ll lead the way” kind of message.

  • Richard

    How about a boy nerd and a matching girl nerd, sitting side by side at a help desk. “They’re not much to look at, but they rule at service.”

    Or a grandma offering a plate of chocolate chip cookies. ” Just as caring as Grandma…but you’ll have to bake your own cookies”

    Or, some kind of tough, enforcer kind of guy. “Bruno is here to ensure you receive ultimate customer service…. kapeesh?”

    More serious ideas:

    A GPS unit that is pointing the way to answers / Point B / Destination. A modern way of saying we will get you to where you want to go.

    A sherpa / mountain guide kind of character that has printers / monitors / in-boxes on his back. Kind of a “put the burden on us, and we’ll lead the way” kind of message.

  • I think that the 118 118 service in UK ad was quite innovative with the “crazy” guys embodying it. It has then reused in Europe by several different companies therefore making it a (small) cliché.

  • I think that the 118 118 service in UK ad was quite innovative with the “crazy” guys embodying it. It has then reused in Europe by several different companies therefore making it a (small) cliché.

  • Milind Paranjape

    Picture of honeybees with their honeycomb, a typical customer needs to be at the center of honeycomb. Each hexagon or some hexagon grouped together can be a group in service organization. Intent is that we work together for serving the needs of customer.

    OR

    How about picture of real people in tech support, grayed out with text on top in big bold font “we are here to support”

  • Milind Paranjape

    Picture of honeybees with their honeycomb, a typical customer needs to be at the center of honeycomb. Each hexagon or some hexagon grouped together can be a group in service organization. Intent is that we work together for serving the needs of customer.

    OR

    How about picture of real people in tech support, grayed out with text on top in big bold font “we are here to support”

  • How about a great looking tanned guy or lady with the pure white t-top that says “Customer Service” on the front in bold black letters – wearing a bluetooth in the ear for sure – giving the ultimate massage to a really happy, calm and refreshed client on the table under his/her sooooothing hands – delivering the “Relax – I am here for you” lines. Candles for sure.

    or…head out on the street and get “real people” of all shapes, sizes and ages wearing the prop head set [too big for fun] delivering the CS lines – all cut together in a fun montage.

  • How about a great looking tanned guy or lady with the pure white t-top that says “Customer Service” on the front in bold black letters – wearing a bluetooth in the ear for sure – giving the ultimate massage to a really happy, calm and refreshed client on the table under his/her sooooothing hands – delivering the “Relax – I am here for you” lines. Candles for sure.

    or…head out on the street and get “real people” of all shapes, sizes and ages wearing the prop head set [too big for fun] delivering the CS lines – all cut together in a fun montage.

  • I like the idea of the guys in uniform in the trenches … but give them headset telephones and a keyboard to start with … maybe embed the keyboard into the side of the trenches so they can type as they keep a watch out over the top of the trench.

  • I like the idea of the guys in uniform in the trenches … but give them headset telephones and a keyboard to start with … maybe embed the keyboard into the side of the trenches so they can type as they keep a watch out over the top of the trench.

  • Jeremy

    If I had to speak about customer services I would probably choose a situation where one would like to get some help and feel alone. Probably someone who has to change his car’s wheel or ran out of fuel in the middle of nowhere. I’ll probably put a short sentence about “life without customer services”

    This would probably require more than 30 seconds thought to find better examples, but I would like the people to remember situations where they felt helpless with a product. Then depending on the product and or the service the company provide, the accompanying speech would have to explain how the company makes everything to avoid the need of customer service, but also how we do everything possible when they need help.

    (sorry for the english mistakes)

  • Jeremy

    If I had to speak about customer services I would probably choose a situation where one would like to get some help and feel alone. Probably someone who has to change his car’s wheel or ran out of fuel in the middle of nowhere. I’ll probably put a short sentence about “life without customer services”

    This would probably require more than 30 seconds thought to find better examples, but I would like the people to remember situations where they felt helpless with a product. Then depending on the product and or the service the company provide, the accompanying speech would have to explain how the company makes everything to avoid the need of customer service, but also how we do everything possible when they need help.

    (sorry for the english mistakes)

  • SG

    Have Debbie change her hair colour??

  • SG

    Have Debbie change her hair colour??

  • I like Blaise’s idea of kids giving a “leg up” to one another (as we English would say, rather than “a boost”).
    Don’t like the kid+corporate combo with the wingtips so much – could be misconstrued as “we exploit overseas call centre workers so our executives can get richer”.
    Not certain if it is totally “customer service” or could be used for other sorts of support – maybe online FAQ / community forums might also be visualised with this kind of image – more like “helping each other” than “us helping you”.

    Fabian’s bike stabilisers I like too, particular for technical support types of service – seems to say “you can use our product / software / online banking site on your own, and we are here to make sure it goes smoothly and you don’t fall off”.
    Maybe “Kevin” the kid on the bike will be the next Debbie, and cliched into oblivion by 2019.

    Old self-serve gas station with self crossed out sounds good for the right market, but I would be cautious in the online world where the ability to do things for yourself 24×7 without waiting on hold and so on is pretty much the whole point.

    Traditional values are always good in traditional businesses, so the old style grocery store, or similar places would work well, especially if the photos look modern but the proprietors look older, or maybe like father and son / mother and daughter, showing that good quality service lasts the test of time. So a vintage shot might hark back to the good old days, whereas a modern shot of an old business still running in this way might make the point stronger. Various stores could work – bespoke tailor, traditional butcher, family bakery and so on.

    A couple of ideas from me:
    Maybe slightly cheesy and cheating by using words rather than just images, but a rural looking road from the point of view of a driver, showing the kind of sign you see on entering a small town reading
    Welcome to
    Excellent Customer Service
    twinned with
    Great Technical Support.

    I know – I’m not sure whether to love it or hate it either.

    Slightly more visual – smartly pin-stripe-suited business executive lying down on a visibly comfortable, soft bed with nice clean white linen, eyes closed peacefully, a smile just playing slighly on his/her lips.
    Bed is being supported by two young office workers rather than legs – maybe they are on all fours with the bed on their backs (a bit too subservient?), or carrying it overhead. Either way, they are making the ride easy and smooth for the business person they are carrying. For added emphasis, they could be walking over rough, rocky terrain (which would take much more work in photoshop or higher artists fees to do the shoot for real).

  • I like Blaise’s idea of kids giving a “leg up” to one another (as we English would say, rather than “a boost”).
    Don’t like the kid+corporate combo with the wingtips so much – could be misconstrued as “we exploit overseas call centre workers so our executives can get richer”.
    Not certain if it is totally “customer service” or could be used for other sorts of support – maybe online FAQ / community forums might also be visualised with this kind of image – more like “helping each other” than “us helping you”.

    Fabian’s bike stabilisers I like too, particular for technical support types of service – seems to say “you can use our product / software / online banking site on your own, and we are here to make sure it goes smoothly and you don’t fall off”.
    Maybe “Kevin” the kid on the bike will be the next Debbie, and cliched into oblivion by 2019.

    Old self-serve gas station with self crossed out sounds good for the right market, but I would be cautious in the online world where the ability to do things for yourself 24×7 without waiting on hold and so on is pretty much the whole point.

    Traditional values are always good in traditional businesses, so the old style grocery store, or similar places would work well, especially if the photos look modern but the proprietors look older, or maybe like father and son / mother and daughter, showing that good quality service lasts the test of time. So a vintage shot might hark back to the good old days, whereas a modern shot of an old business still running in this way might make the point stronger. Various stores could work – bespoke tailor, traditional butcher, family bakery and so on.

    A couple of ideas from me:
    Maybe slightly cheesy and cheating by using words rather than just images, but a rural looking road from the point of view of a driver, showing the kind of sign you see on entering a small town reading
    Welcome to
    Excellent Customer Service
    twinned with
    Great Technical Support.

    I know – I’m not sure whether to love it or hate it either.

    Slightly more visual – smartly pin-stripe-suited business executive lying down on a visibly comfortable, soft bed with nice clean white linen, eyes closed peacefully, a smile just playing slighly on his/her lips.
    Bed is being supported by two young office workers rather than legs – maybe they are on all fours with the bed on their backs (a bit too subservient?), or carrying it overhead. Either way, they are making the ride easy and smooth for the business person they are carrying. For added emphasis, they could be walking over rough, rocky terrain (which would take much more work in photoshop or higher artists fees to do the shoot for real).

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