Thoughts about business and economic development in rural areas.


March 2008
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Archive for March 31st, 2008

Will the show really go on?

Just did a customer service training session in Platteville and the response to one of the questions I asked led to this entry.

One of the key components of the Disney approach to providing exceptional customer service is the concept of ‘show’. They even use theatre terms in their business including referring to employees as ‘cast members’ who are ‘cast for a role’ instead of being hired. Over the years I’ve noted that when it comes to ‘show’ most business people really don’t get it. I think I’ve finally realized why. These people have never done any live theatre. They may have attended a performance, but when it comes to knowledge of what happens backstage and onstage they are almost completely clueless.

The question I asked was this, “How many of you have ever worked on a theatre production?” I ask that question at each of my customer service workshops. I’m lucky if one or two people out of 40 will raise their hands. So how can I expect the participants to understand the concept when they have never experienced it? Sort of like my understanding of cricket. I can spell it but I’ve never even seen it played other than snippits in tv shows or movies. I’m completely clueless on what it is to play and experience cricket.

I just finished reading an entry of Presentation Zen that brought this back to mind. ‘Show’ is essential to the Disney approach to customer service yet the best that most of us can do is spell it.

Roy Scheider played a character based on Bob Fosse in the movie “All That Jazz”. Each morning he exited his shower, turned off the music he had playing and greeted the day with a loud and confident, “It’s showtime!” Wonder how many people never got the significance of that?

Many believe that our economy is moving from a service model to an ‘experience’ model. My only question is, “Will the show really go on?”