Magicians: How to Provide Excellent Customer Service
Anytime I patronize a business or engage someone to perform a service for me, I expect excellent customer service. The difference between excellent customer service and poor service, is the difference between having a happy customer that goes out of their way to refer business for you and one who is dissatisfied and will never use your services again. As magicians, sometimes we forget we are in the service industry because we are entertainers and tend to focus just on the performance, but as in any business where you charge for your services or product, excellent customer service can make all the difference.
Let me explain. I was doing a children's birthday party the other day, and was ready to start and the kids were all quietly sitting waiting for the show to begin. The customer asks me if I can wait 10 minutes for 2 other kids to arrive. I say "No Problem." Rather than having the kids just sit there, I proceed to entertain the kids with some simple games of "Simon Says" and some other games. In my younger days, I might have been annoyed at the delay but I was happy to do it as I am there to provide excellent service to my customer.
When the show is over, do I dash out the door with the check in hand? No. I spend a few extra moments to sign Magician's Assistant certificates for all the children and allow the parents to take photos of the kids sticking their heads out my "Boy to Bunny" vinyl banner. For this show, the customer was very happy and gave me a nice tip. But more important than the extra cash was the was the goodwill that was created. This can translate into future bookings and referrals.
Here are a few things to consider for providing excellent service:
In order to exceed expectations, you must first meet them. You need a solid show which is full of entertainment for the target audience. Be careful not to oversell just to get the booking. If the customer is expecting the second coming of David Copperfield, they will be let down when they get a more modest show. Here are some other tips on meeting customer expectations:
- Be accurate in the description of the show (don't oversell)
- Be on time or even a bit early
- Send a letter (contact) in advance of the show which details the fees to be paid, the length of time, starting time, etc. This can solve any potential misunderstandings before it is too late to correct them.
- Perform for the amount of time that was agreed to. If your show comes up 10 minutes too short, they are sure to notice.
Focus on always providing more service than is expected. When I sign the magician's assistant certificates for all the kids or stick around for the photos, I do not mention this ahead of time so they are not expecting it. I'll mention it at the end to the customer and ask, "If you'd like, I can stick around for some photographs." The kids love sticking their head through the bunny banner and parents get nice keepsake from the show. They almost always accept the offer and appreciate it. They already got their monies worth and now they are getting a bonus. Account for this extra time in your scheduling of the show so it won't put you in trouble for another appointment. Think of other creative ways to exceed expectations, maybe like giving a small gift to the special guest (e.g. for birthday parties give a small magic trick or book for the birthday boy or girl.)
Enjoy your Profession
Have you ever gone into a restaurant and been served by a waiter who doesn't seem to enjoy their job. It does not make for as enjoyable experience. I know that this could be 100th time you performed a particular trick but you need to make it seem as fresh and interesting and fun as the first time. You need to be genuinely entertaining your audience and enjoying ever minute of it. If you don't like kids and you are kid's show performer, this will show. If this is your 4th show of the day and you are tired and worn out, this will also show.
Don't Nickel and Dime your Customer
Always be willing to provide a little extra service at no extra charge. There are certainly limits to this but alway err on the side of not charging extra for a special request. Make sure of course, you are getting a fair fee to begin with and then you don't need to sweat the small stuff. There is still an opportunity to upsell your customer on additional things to provide whether it is a longer show, some giveaways, or something else. But always think about what simple things you can provide at no additional cost to delight your customer.
Remember that the difference between excellent service and average service can be as little as 1 to 2% extra effort on your part. Think about it. You are already planning the show, packing up your stuff, driving to your show, setting up, performing, packing it up, and driving back. The extra service is probably not much additional on top of what you already do. Make the extra effort and your customers will be delighted. The good news is that you will also be delighted if you no other reason that your customers were ecstatic with your performance and service.
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Monday, 21 July 2008
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