Last week I flew into Sydney for a conference and while I was waiting at the baggage carousel I noticed that not far away from me was a famous Australian singer. She was dressed down and had with her a couple of members of her entourage and I heard her remark how tired she was.
Even though she had glasses on (not sunglasses – it was 8pm and she’s not that pretentious) it wasn’t long before a little girl on the other side of the carousel noticed her and waved. The singer smiled and subtly waved back at her. Wanting to meet her idol and dragging her mother in tow, the little girl walked over.
Despite being worn out and with no paparazzi around, the singer took off her glasses, got down on her haunches to bring herself down to her little fan’s level and said “hello princess, how are you?”. She then spent a couple of minutes talking to her. It was a beautiful moment that I had to capture.
It got me thinking about the link between performers/fans and businesses/customers. What can businesses learn from performing artists that will help them to create raving fans? Here’s the list I came up with:
1) Be a star on stage – every customer interaction is a chance to perform. Prepare for each one and give 100% every time you’re in front of customers.
2) Put on a show – back in 2012, my partner and I went to a Coldplay concert. As we walked in we were given these wristbands and told to put them on. It was only when the lights went down later that evening and the band started playing Paradise that we realised what they were for. Check this out:
Businesses, too, need to create experiences every now and then that wow customers by surprising and delighting them.
3) Give them an encore – just when customers think an interaction is over, impress them by anticipating their next need and going the extra mile.
4) Respond to requests – similar to bands that play songs that have been shouted out by the audience, listen to your customers and customise your offerings based on what they’re telling you.
5) Play new songs but don’t stop playing your hits – Never forget what brought your customers to you in the first place. Continue to innovate and deliver new offerings but maintain the basics – those things you’ve always done that solve core customer needs.
6) Enjoy the applause – positive customer feedback is the applause a business gets from its customers. Everybody loves hearing it. Connect all areas of your business to customers by spreading feedback far and wide internally.
7) Offer high value packages – just as artists offer different levels of seating at their concerts ranging from the stalls to general admission and high value packages where high-paying fans can go backstage, businesses must understand that they too have different segments of customers. Some segments are worth more to your business than others. Know who your high value segments are and prioritise investments in them.
8) Ensure your entourage reflect your values – I was watching a documentary on Prince the other night and learned that not only would he always dress sharply (he never wore jeans) but that he also insisted that everyone in his entourage dress sharply too! Define your organisational vision, mission and values then ensure everything you do is consistent with that: the people you hire, the training you provide, the way you treat customers, the way you do business. Everything.
Follow these tips and soon you too will have fans that rave about you the same way the little girl at the baggage carousel will one day rave about her favourite Aussie singer.
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This post first appeared on the ICMI blog in February, 2022. I started my career in my early 20’s working
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