It’s not every day you get a personal note from one of the PR industry’s most recognizable names. A few weeks back, while working on a project, my phone buzzed with a new message. It was from Peter Shankman.
“The lounge at Newark seems like a great place to say hi…” his e-mail started. He went on to say he wasn’t trying to sell me anything (he has plenty of business), but that he was interested in having some bloggers review his latest book, “Zombie Loyalists: Using Great Service to Create Rabid Fans“. Naturally, I took the bait and e-mailed him back…because, you know, it’s Peter Shankman, and he took the time to write, so of course I couldn’t leave him hanging.
Well, within minutes, we had an e-mail chain 5 links deep and an open discussion about our airline preferences, coupled with a promise to try crossing paths when our schedules both sync up in New York for coffee. Whether that ever happens, only time will tell, but I was honored that he followed through on my inquiry to check out his book. 10 days later, FedEx knocked on my door, delivering an advanced copy of his latest work. Ain’t networking grand?
This book, on the surface, isn’t something I’d have considered reading without being introduced to it by the author himself. For one, I think zombies are kind of lame. But I’ve been a follower of Peter’s professional postulations for years, so I was going to give him the benefit of the doubt. Zombie Loyalists starts by setting the stage on how he was going to correlate zombies with marketing and publicity, and how he was going to tie in his own business experiences, sprinkled with feedback from industry leaders from all walks of life…if you can make that connection and see beyond the flesh feasting references, Shankman’s pitch of tying zombies with consumer loyalism could make a lot of sense.
With my 4 year old daughter sitting on the couch next to me, playing with her dolls, I tore into into Zombie Loyalists with the same vigorous anticipation a newly embalmed zombie lusts over a millennial’s mandible. 10 pages in, I was hooked. My kids had to literally pull the book out of my hands so I could put them to bed; once they were asleep, I turned into a book reading zombie myself until about 11:30pm, when my wife came home from work and had to pull the book out of my hands. I was just over 100 pages in, and my eyes had been opened to the zombie-like mentality of product hungry customers.
Shankman’s writing style is high intensity, to say the least. He writes like he talks, and if you’ve ever listened to his podcasts (highly recommended), or have seen him on video (I recommend his TEDx Talk) it’s an easy transition on the eyes. I found myself pouring over the pages, absorbing his stories of his own personal service moments – like the time in his youth when he worked at a yogurt shop and tried to polish the exterior of the building, only to be told to get back behind the counter because that wasn’t what he was being paid to do. At a young age, Shankman understood the importance of an exceptional customer experience, and in his professional life, he lives, breathes, and has enlightened companies like AmEx, Walt Disney World and Snapple with this mentality.
Here’s the verdict – Zombie Loyalists will disappoint people looking for a science fiction horror story about blood lusting zombies. The folks who won’t be disappointed with this book are just about everyone else. If you work in customer service, management, publicity, business, or marketing – you need to read this book. Even if you don’t, this book will serve as a reminder of what customers – like you and me – deserve from the businesses we patron.
Peter Shankman is an admitted Zombie Loyalist. His passion for the companies he’s faithful to is enough to make all of us reconsider our own zombie affinities. That said, if you’re looking for a book to rekindle your faith in mortal customer service, check out Zombie Loyalist: Using Great Service to Create Rabid Fans, (Palgrave Macmillan, US $27.00) due out in late January, 2015.
Editor’s Note – HDHubby.com was supplied an advance copy of Zombie Loyalist: Using Great Service to Create Rabid Fans by Palgrave Macmillian for review. No additional compensation was offered or accepted.