You’re Not Enchanting Anyone, You Know

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I'm enchanting customers?

There’s a phrase that I’ve been seeing and hearing a lot lately. Every time I hear it, I can feel my fight or flight reflex start to flex right at the base of my brainstem. The phrase? “Enchanting customers.”

Maybe I’m jaded, maybe I’ve lost my sense of wonder, but I think the term “enchanting” is one that should be reserved for the Dungeons and Dragons crowd and Harry Potter book clubs.

Seriously, you’re enchanting people? You’re waving your magic wand and making them fall in love with you against their own will and better judgement? I call shenanigans.

If you walk in to most CEO’s offices and tell them that you’re going to increase the bottom line of their tool and die business by enchanting customers, I’m pretty sure you’ll get a swift kick in the privates.

Even if you manage to enchant your customers, the magic wears off all too soon. Before you know it, people are complaining about the magical experience you’ve given them. People are constantly complaining about their smart phones. “Stupid phone, I wish you would bring me a sandwich.” So, the ultra-light device that can make calls anywhere in the world without a cord and, oh by the way, has more computing power than the first lunar module isn’t good enough for you?

Enchantment is a losing battle. Remember when you first heard Eddie Van Halen play “Eruption”? Did your face melt? Mine did. Soon, however, every hack on Hollywood Boulevard was tapping on their Jackson and abusing their Floyd Rose floating tremolo and the magic was gone.

When was the last time you were enchanted with a product or phenomena? I would say the UI on the iPhone did it for me. Other times before that:

  • the first time I saw Ruby on Rails demonstrated

  • the first time I saw AJAX in action (that’s Asynchronous Javascript And XML for you non-nerds)

  • the Wii

  • the first time I saw Chernenkov radiation (the cool blue glow at the bottom of a nuclear reactor)

Noticeably absent from the list? The last time I had lunch at Applebee’s.

Aside from that, enchantment usually comes from watching someone practice their craft. There’s the Eddie Van Halen example above. Ever watch a master paint or draw? I sit there and get giddy. It’s really like watching magic. Check out Nico DiMattia painting Spiderman below.

My point is that you can’t start with the goal of enchantment. You can’t just put on a pointy hat and learn a few spells. Enchantment is something that arises from practice and dedication. It is that moment when you can actually see how much someone loves what they do. It doesn’t matter if you’re watching someone toss dough at a pizza joint, bend a guitar to their will or something as simple as a bartender remembering your order every time you belly up.

Forget enchantment. Start with practice.

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