What do “stage dives” and customer engagement have in common?


Saturday morning, I walked into the local Starbucks to work for a couple of hours and immediately notice 15-20 customers waiting for their orders. Most of them had quickly stopped by to grab a coffee between basketball games or dance practices with their kids. The cashier line was empty. And, alot of them were irate for having to wait well over 15 minutes. No one warned them when they ordered that it would take a while and no apologies were offered except to those that verbally complained and stormed out. Some of them were waiting simply to be handed a slice of lemon loaf. And, this backlog lasted for several hours.

So, what does this have to do with stage diving? Everything!

When you see am image of “stage diving” what comes to mind? One word. TRUST. If you don’t know, stage diving happens when a music performer leaps off the stage and depends on the faithful audience to catch him or her before they fall. During a performance at New York’s Carnegie Hall in March 4, 2010 Iggy Pops, the king of stage diving, was injured when his audience did not completely catch him. With some injuries, he at least vowed not to stage dive again.

That is exactly what can happen if the assumed promises in a customer journey are not fulfilled. No one expects to wait over 20 minutes at Starbucks on a Saturday morning with their family in tow. It is just a base assumption that they will be in and out quickly especially if the cashier line is empty.

So, what can you as a customer centric organization do if there is an unexpected delay or other assumed promises not met? How can you reestablish that TRUST right then and there?

First and foremost, give them fair warning. Simply let people know ahead of time. At that Starbucks, they could have simply said at the time of order that they were running a bit behind. That gives the hurried customer a split second to simply come back another time. Without that statement, there will be a loss of trust.

Secondly, simply say “sorry for you wait” instead of only calling out a name. Acknowledge that you broke their trust. Just apologize. This simple acknowledgement leaves the impression that you care and that it will not happen again. The next time, they will notice to check the pick-up crowd rather than just the cashier lane.

Iggy Pops has actually stage dived again several times but not like he used to. Once that trust was broken, it just wasn’t the same. This is true with your customer engagement process as well. Keep that trust! Shift your efforts to not just get caught up but to keep your customers informed and apologize.


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