Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Guest Post - John Baiocco: Customer Service

This week we have a post from our roving intern John Baiocco, or as we know him "Chachi". John has actually earned his wings lately and as a Jr Jedi can be trusted to be left alone with a musical for long stretches at a time. While he was taking care of one such theatre production this week he came up with these wise words to share with all of you. What's remarkable about them isn't the content, it's that the content resides in the brain of a nineteen year old. He's already on to something that most of us learn the hard way over a couple decades.

Customer Service is important in any job you do. No matter if you work in a store, own your own business, work for someone else in an office, or if you’re working in the field. Great customer service can go a long way and increases your chances of repeat business.
I have been working in a retail environment for a couple years now and i have picked up a lot of customer services skills along the way. These skills can be used in almost any work environment when you’re dealing with clients.
For the past six years I have been working for a few small companies as an audio engineer and a lighting designer. I have noticed that being “ Customer Friendly” in this profession is harder than in the office. Unfortunately, I have seen good engineers lose clients simply because their customer service skills weren’t there. [Don't take it too hard Chach, it's happened to all of us. Ed] I have even caught myself being unpleasant is certain situations. This job is full of stress and one thing I learned ( THE HARD WAY!) was “ Don’t let your customers see you stress”  Customers don’t like to see the people they hired stressed. It's seen as a sign of weakness and sometimes lack of knowledge and skill.  Take an audio engineer freaking out over microphones not working... (I'm guilty of this) or a lighting guy stressing over a blown bulb. When the customer sees you stressing, it automatically makes them stressed. Making them angry and irritable, but now the chances of you getting yelled at for something increase.
One technique I’m perfecting is "Freaking out Mentally”. It makes everything a lot easier. Yes you’re still dealing with whatever issues you’re dealing with. But now the customer isn’t worrying about whether you can perform the task’s they are paying you to perform. They are worrying about sets, or costumes, or how loud their bass amp should be. Leaving you to solve those issues in a calm manner.
But enough about stress....
Thinking back to first and second grade when we were learning manners.... those are key to keeping clients. If you walk on the site and just say everything in a rude or condescending tone the chances of them calling you for future work are slim to none. Treat everyone with respect.. ESPECIALLY THE ONES SIGNING THE PAY CHECK! Please and Thank you, and have a nice day, and just being polite in general can a long way. We all have to deal with people we don’t like, or people we don’t know, or people who are just plain rude. Showing that you have the ability to put up with the most obnoxious people will help you and your business.
Having great customer service can make you money. Just apply good people skills and be friendly. Next time whether it be at the office, or in the theater, stop and think... if I was the customer, how would i want to be treated? Making their experience as easy and stress free as possible will show you can handle the workload, and who knows. Maybe it will make your phone ring in the future.

Wise words for one so young. On the very day he submitted this article he had a digital console reset itself in the middle of a rehearsal. He didn't panic. He said something funny and started plugging the settings back in. When he got stumped he called in an expert and half an hour later all was forgotten.

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