There was a local chinese takeout place that my wife and I used to frequent. When we lived in the dorms, we were a stone’s throw away. But as we moved further and further out from the location, the delivery folks became more and more skeptical that we were “local.” Because we got food so often, we were designated as “special customers,” with the distinct privilege of receiving our delivery food no matter where we happened to be. I always think back to the status that we had cultivated through many phone calls.
It meant something to be a special customer, and I think that it is something we should be trying to achieve elsewhere. We tend to shy away from it because it is favoritism, but it really is the good kind. To me, being a special customer means that we are parts of the process of creating value. We are a bigger part of the equation for that restaurant and if I am able to demonstrate value in other spaces, I should be able to find the same label of “special customer.”
In essence, I would like to be a special customer for Google when I show others how I use Google Docs and gmail. I want to be a part of creating those tools for others. I want to be a special customer on the iPad and for Edmodo. I want to be a part of making these tools and ideas into what they can be. I don’t feel that way, though. I feel as though I am the same as any user. While I am okay with being treated as equals, it is hard for me to understand why creating a space for special customers to come together and share their specialness is out of the question.
I want free delivery to anywhere. I want the folks who really control the fate of the products and services I use to see me as a partner in their launch process. I want them to see the same distinction I do within special customers and users. I want to help evangelize and create within your space, but only if I feel valued. How do you value us?