Posts Tagged ‘interaction’

An unexpected interaction

March 10th, 2010 No comments

Not too long ago I bought a TV on eBay. It was a great TV, and by great I don’t just mean excellent. It was also huge (especially weight-wise). You see, it was a good old 32″ fat screen Panasonic…

I love that TV; nice and clear picture and a surprisingly good sound. And for a price of 50 Australian dollars (~USD 45) it was a steal. But I digress; this post is not about my dear old new TV. It’s about my interaction with the seller.

How you experience an interaction is largely dependent on your expectations. If you’re buying something at a luxury store you expect that little extra. You’re not just buying the item; you’re also buying the experience and the service. When it comes to buying a cheap old TV on eBay you pretty much focus on the goods and hope it’s not broken.

This particular ad said “local pickup only“. My guess is the seller thought

it’d be a waste to chuck a working TV. Let’s try putting it on eBay. Someone can come and pick it up and save me the hassle and maybe, just maybe I’ll even get a few bucks for it.

So there you go: The ad is there. The TV looks good. I’m willing to pay a hundred bucks for it. Since I don’t own a car I set aside AUD 50 for taxi transport and put in a bid for the remaining 50 that turns out to be the winner. Hooray!

I’m a happy camper. The seller has every reason to be satisfied too. If only the TV works and the seller gets her money (and we don’t rob or rape each other) this business transaction will go into history as a successful one…

Here’s when the seller delights me: She says she’ll be driving past my neighbourhood anyway so she’d be happy to just drop it to me. Just like that! She didn’t have anything to gain by doing that: She had to ask a friend to get the darned thing into her car, she had to find out where I lived, she had to go out of her way (if only a little) and she had to take her time to do it.

For me on the other hand there was both time and money to be saved. We (me and my wife that is) therefore thought we’d get her something to show her our appreciation of her kind gesture, so we bought her some flowers.

For us that felt like the least we could do. We were still well under budget, we didn’t have to look for her place and all we had to do now was carry the TV in from the street. AND it felt good to reciprocate for her kindness. Plus; it really was nothing much; just a simple bouquet of flowers.

For her, judging from the look on her face and her eBay feedback, she was genuinely thankful. I suppose she really didn’t think it was a problem to deliver the TV to us. She probably felt it was both convenient and time-saving. She certainly didn’t expect a reward for it.

So, the point is: Even a simple business transaction, with no other expectations from either side than to let money and goods change owners, can become something extra. All it usually takes is for either party to go that extra inch – to do just a little bit more than what’s expected. If on the other hand both parties does just that, that simple interaction can turn into something really memorable and smile inducing.

That’s the real reason I love that TV: It’s a constant reminder of not just a great bargain, but also of a memorable and unexpected business interaction.