By Doug Sandler, “Nice Guys Finish First”
I’m not exactly sure when the word “service” was omitted from customer service. It might have been when phone systems became automated, or when smart phones, text messaging, Tweeting and Face Book posting came into vogue. It may have been when Coke changed the recipe to New Coke or when Journey lost Steve Perry. I’m not sure, but somewhere along the way it all changed. People stopped returning my phone calls and started to “message” me instead. I can tell you this, I don’t like it, and neither do your customers. It’s time to look beyond the convenience created by technology and get back to what is really important. People.
During August in Atlantic City, I had the opportunity to speak at the DJ Times Expo. As a part of my presentation, I discussed how technology has exploded in our business as it has in all other industries as well. Purchasing music, equipment set up, lighting technology, software systems and so many more conveniences have helped us on and before gig day. Technology has made our jobs so much easier. However, in polling the crowd, we all agreed about the challenges created by the clash of technology’s impersonal high tech feel, when coupled with the extremely personal nature of our business, which is creating memories. Too many in our business have lost sight of relationship building. Now, more than ever, we all need to get back to being human again. And while technology has really helped us raise efficiency and productivity, many of us are scoring a failing grade when it comes to customer service.
Every day we are hired to perform at weddings, bar & bat mitzvahs, clubs, bars, corporate events and more. Many of these events are milestone celebrations, deserving personal communication and a personal touch. It’s extremely hard to get to know someone via email, text, Tweet and post. Keep this in mind – High touch trumps high tech, every time.
As a guy that has been in the business since 1984, I have seen so many changes over the years. But one thing remains constant – people. People need to connect with others to feel important and they want to connect with someone who thinks like they do.
Without a personal connection, you are just a commodity. Keeping a client for a lifetime requires a strong bond. Bonds are created by face to face meetings, hand shakes, smiles, laughs and personal conversations.
Take a look at the list below and do a quick analysis of where you are on the subject of relationship building. You know you need more help building relationships with your clients when:
1. You are focused more on the 4 hour event than the planning of the 4 hour event.
2. You are more concerned with buying gear than getting to know your clients.
3. You are getting phone calls and the prospect’s first question is about price.
4. You are not regularly getting referrals BEFORE gig day.
5. You are getting more calls from advertisements than from referrals.
Strictly from business standpoint, better relationships equal higher booking fees, more referrals, more repeat business, higher close ratios and a much stronger bottom line.
My DJ business dramatically improved when building relationships became my number one priority. Once I started to focus less on closing deals and focus more on my clients vision of their event, I realized this business was far beyond spinning tunes for a packed dance floor with a microphone in my hand.