Mend my broken heart.

Love is about action. It’s about creating a meaningful relationship. It’s a constant process of keeping in touch, working with consumers, understanding them, spending time with them. And this is what insightful marketers, empathetic designers, and smart people on the checkout and production line do every day.

As I said in a previous post, I’m currently reading “Lovemarks” by Kevin Roberts. Really enjoying it. So when I had my heart broken by two of my lovemarks over the course of the last week, it struck a chord with what I was reading.

This post had originally started as a rant against the customer service I received from the downtown Stumptown and from Adobe customer service. But I realized the details don’t matter; they’re only important to Stumptown and Adobe. It was all about my trust in these brands, and how that trust was broken.

A single person can ruin all the efforts that companies and brands put into the relationships they build. I still love Stumptown coffee, the Annex and the Ace, but I no longer love Downtown Stumptown. I still love what Adobe software can do for me (after all, we rely on it to do what we do). But the fact that they’re putting a shipping issue ahead of my trust is just crazy. Maybe, once they take me off hold, I’ll be able to resolve the issues I’m having. Time will tell.

Lovemarks are built on relationships and trust. They’re built on LOVE. Since we create digital relationships, we realize a large part of what we do depends on creating meaningful two-way conversations. Companies that fail to do this will never achieve lovemark status. They will merely be commodities.

If I was Stumptown or Adobe, I’d reconsider what affect customer service has on a relationship. It can strengthen the relationship, or it can end the love affair.

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