So I started writing this article and I went on so many different ‘side rants’ that I decided to break them up into a ‘series’ of posts about how closely knit being in a band is with ‘the business world.’ Here’s part one…
Let’s Talk About Music…
Musicians can be a fickle bunch. Especially with their fans. You always hear phrases like, “We couldn’t do it without the fans” and other musical cliches. Some bands simply thank their fans when they’re winning an award. Other’s find other ways to stay connected with their fans.
Sometimes you hear typical stories about some Rock (or Pop) Star doing something special for the fans or contributing a benefit to help after a natural disaster. More so, you see bands giving away music or making sure they keep record prices low. Ian MacKaye was in an old hardcore band (Minor Threat) in the early 80’s and started Dischord Records in which every CD had the statement, “This Compact Disc Is Only $12.” Remember this was a time when ‘big box’ record stores were selling Catalog Albums for $18.99 or more. You may even remember when Louis CK gave away a comedy special for $5.00 last year. Sometimes it can be as simple as the musician coming out to b.s. with their fans after the show. (*sidenote – There’s a really good Q&A session video with Ian MacKaye at Loyola University. It’s really long, but really good.)
Oppositely, there are a number of musicians (or performers) who believe it’s the world’s ‘privilege to witness their talent.’ Now, I can’t speak for anyone or judge anyone but there were some issues years ago about Creed (including an apology.) A quick internet search brought up a bunch of other hearsay. My point is that it happens.
The question is, how are you treating your fans…and by fans I mean customers?
Let’s Talk About Your “Fans”
Your ‘fans’ are your clients and customers. Depending on how you treat them will result in how they treat you. Most importantly, it may determine how long you’re in business for! The key is a mutual respect between the business owner and the customer.
Are You Relating To Your Fans:
Music: I hate seeing a band I love playing super sloppy on stage, whether you’re hitting sour notes on a guitar, passing out on stage or canceling shows. I want a surreal experience.
Business: How many times have you decided not to go back to restaurant because the service was horrible? I was at a restaurant this week where the waiter was at the bar drinking wine the whole time. We never got one of our drinks (which he did comp) and I was SOL if I wanted mustard for my burger. When it really comes down to it, I just wanted them to do their job with a smile and to be treated with a little respect because I know how hard I worked for that money. Instead, now I have to leave a tip to someone who was ungrateful of how hard I worked to get that money?! Bullshit! The hard part (for me) is I don’t want to be ‘one of those guys‘ who complains to a manager after a bad service. It’s not because I want a free meal, it’s because I own a local business and I appreciate when it’s done right and get angry when it’s done wrong. I want them to know that they need to get their stuff together. Another part of me doesn’t want to deal with a horrible business owner who defends the bad service (essentially saying it’s my fault.) I usually just decide not to return. As a business owner, I know this kinda sucks. The fact is 96% of unsatisfied customers don’t complain! To make matters worse 91% just won’t return! If you’re the business owner with this attitude I wish you luck…cause you’re gonna need it. If you’re not always around and you have employee’s then you need to make sure they have a smile on their face.
When You’re Taking The Stage:
Music: I hate when I see a band and they complain or apologize (a lot) on stage. You’re a professional. Do your job and entertain me with the songs I love.
Business: There are no ‘bad days’ when you own a business. As soon as you open the doors, it’s like you’re on stage getting ready to play a concert. If you do a bad job, you need to be prepared for the repercussions. According to the White House Office of Consumer Affairs, dissatisfied customers tell between 9 – 15 people about their bad experience. When someone has a positive customer experience they tell between 4 and 6 people. You always hear stories about the airport losing luggage. No one comes back from a trip and talks for an hour about how the flight was ‘status quo.’
The Deluxe Album Version:
Music: If I’m pumped about a band or it’s a favorite of mine, I’m more than willing to throw in a few extra bucks for the deluxe version of the album.
Business: What you may be surprised at is 86% of customers are willing to spend more for a better customer experience! It’s like them buying the Deluxe Version of your album. Someone gets a great deal on a great product and their experience was pleasant! Sounds to me like a customer fo’ life!
Business: Your clients need to be treated with the respect and mind-set that they’re keeping you in business. They need to respect you and not take advantage of you and put you out of business. It’s a mutual respect. If either of these boundaries are crossed you will have to deal with the problem appropriately.
A customer who is always trying to get something out of you, or complains so you’ll give them something for free is not my idea of a picture perfect customer. Most of the time these customers will not be long-term customers anyway.
Building Your Fan Club:
Music: I hope I don’t really have to explain this one. I hope you know that bands have fan clubs.
Business: There are plenty of ways you can show appreciation to your customers (or clients) if you genuinely want to be sincere about it. Remember that if the customer has a good experience working with you, chances are they are also rooting for you. They feel like they are part of the business which, in all reality, they are! If you can find ways to make them feel like more a part of the family you can almost always guarantee they’ll be a customer for life (and tell more people about you.)
It makes me wonder if “Customer Appreciation Days” were actually started out of sincerity or if they were just part of someone’s clever marketing plan. Find ways to appreciate your customers without using clichéd lines like…Customer Appreciation Day.
If your staff is a part of the reason your successful, then your customers are equally the reason. Businesses give bonuses to employee’s when the company has had a good year. Why not spread some of that joy and success with your clients as well. Maybe offer an ‘end of the year’ discount based on how successful you are. This way, your customers can root for you, get rewarded and share in your success.
If your business is like a band, then your fans are your customers. How will you treat your fans? Will you only thank them when you’re successful? Will you treat them like their ‘below’ you? Or will you recognize that the closer you are with them the better their experience will be…for both of you.