Remember Who Got You Here

At some time in the past (I’m purposefully leaving the details a bit hazy – I don’t want to date myself), I had the chance to see a band in concert in a very small venue – seriously, the whole thing was about the size of a high school gymnasium. This was the very first concert my friend had ever attended, and as we were walking out that evening, I told him that he’s sort of been ruined for future concerts because he got to see this particular band – who was obviously going to be very big, very soon – in such a small setting. He just smiled and laughed.

About a year later, the band in question HAD gotten much bigger, and they were now appearing in large auditoriums. My friend had decided that if the band was so great in a small venue, they would have to be even better since they were now rating bigger places that could hold twenty times more people – and he got tickets to their upcoming show. A few weeks after the show, I asked him if he enjoyed it. He started telling me about the pyrotechnics and some of the other theatrics that they had put into their new show, and then he paused for a second and said, “You know what, though, you were right about being ruined for future concerts. The band, as expected, was awesome, and the production was really cool, but seeing them in a huge auditorium was like watching a movie. Seeing them in that small theater the first time let me feel like I was part of the experience – I’ll never forget it.”

Which concert experience would your customers use to classify the customer service they received from you in their most recent transaction? Did they feel like they were in a small, intimate setting where you interacted with them, looked them in the eye, and made them a part of the experience? Or, did they feel like they were sitting in one of the nosebleed seats of the ginormous auditorium hoping you’d get around to playing their favorite song before saying goodnight and moving on to the next city? For numerous reasons, they sought you out – they bought tickets to the show – so the question remains: how are they going to remember the show you put on for them, and what are they going to say to their friends about it?

Some companies and individuals in this industry think that bigger is better, and when you ask them to explain why they feel that way, they’ll give you reasons like “increased resources” and “larger reach” – not necessarily bad things in and of themselves – but those reasons are generally one sided: they’re for the company, not the customer. When it comes right down to it, each customer NEEDS and DESERVES to feel like you’re putting on a private performance JUST for them – that you’re taking their requests and playing your heart out. Remember: packing an auditorium full of people doesn’t enhance the fans’ experience, it only serves the performer’s wants and desires. And just like those performers who play the smaller venues for more appreciative crowds, their careers last a lot longer.

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