What type of theatre experience have you ever had?

Why do I ask you that question?

Because if you have ever been on stage in a play, part of a band, chorus, dance group, stage manager, grip, sound, prompter, make up, lighting, director, or any form of theatre where the audience and other co-workers are depending on you, then you probably already know the answer to why I ask.

And you probably have a great background for customer service!

I have a professional theatre background and it has helped my career thrive immensely in the customer service arena. Now, it doesn't mean if you don't have a theatre background you won't be good in customer service, it just means you'll understand the mentality of customer service faster, and perhaps better.

Theatre 101, as I call it, is a perfect precursor to being in customer service. It prepares you in the best way for all these topics and many more.

I fibbed, there are more than 11 skills.

That's a good thing though. Here they are.

* Interacting with others

* Being on time

* Knowing priorities

* Learning how to say something even when you forget your lines

* Knowing how to have a phony smile even when you don't want to

* Understanding your problems are just that: your problems

* Learning to work well with others, even if you don't like them

* Understanding how it all 'comes' together

* Helping others when they forget or don't know what to say

* Learning the "show must go on" mentality

* Learning how to read a script without sounding like it

* Knowing the applause is for everyone

* No complaining!

* Keeping your lines sounding fresh no matter how many times you've said them

* Getting it right "the first time"

* Practice, practice and more practice

* Learning to go with the flow

Here's a real life example of "The Show Must Go On" skill:

On the day of one of our Saturday performances (we did a matinee and evening show) I got a bee sting on my foot. It swelled up and I couldn't put my shoe on that foot.

I had a show to do at 2 PM. What to do? What to do? Sure, I could go barefoot, but that might ruin the show for the others. And certainly for the audience. Theatre minds do not want to do that.

So the theatre mind in me said, "Figure it out, Nancy. Do something. You need to be at the theatre in 1 hour and 45 minutes."

Theatre minds are not necessarily logical minds. However, we are spontaneous. We are quick thinkers. We know something has to be done and we figure out how. My husband has a bigger foot than I do so that was not going to look very good if I wore his shoes. (Didn't go with my outfit anyway.)

What to do? What to do?

I believe I did what most fellow actors would do. I thought of something. The stinger of the bee was removed. I took two aspirins and took my own shoes for the show with me to the theatre. I got to the theatre in time for the 30 minute call and told the stage manager (theatre translation: The Boss) what happened. "However," I said, "I'll be ok. It feels a little bit better and I can squeeze into the shoe."

So that's what I did. I squeezed into the shoe and the show went on. The performance was great. The audience never knew anything was wrong.

Was I in pain? Yes. However, I knew I had a job to do. I wasn't going to let the other actors down and I certainly wouldn't let the audience down. In essence they were all my customers. They were depending on me.

QUESTION: If you got a bee sting on your foot, would you go to work? Would you be able to talk with customers and not let that affect you? Would you complain about it, talk about it until others were sick of hearing about it?

The theatre mind is one that thinks of the audience before themselves. In reality it's the same with your customers. Think of them before you. Remember, customer service is the 'stage.' The customers are your 'audience.' Make yourself a STAR.

Thanks for reading.... 

Nancy Friedman , president of Telephone Doctor Customer Service Training, is a featured keynote speaker and subject matter expert on customer service and communications skills at franchise, association and corporate meetings. She has appeared on OPRAH, Today Show, CNN, FOX News, Good Morning America, CBS This Morning and hundreds of other radio and TV shows. She has been published in the Wall Street Journal with her column, "Don't Strike Out with Your Customers." Nancy is the author of eight books on sales, communications skills and customer service. She is the spokesperson in the popular Telephone Doctor customer service training programs.

For the 5 Most Fascinating Stories in Franchising, a weekly report, click here & sign up.

Authors

Archives

Search for Articles

Follow Us