Tuesday, January 6, 2009

The Recession’s Dirty Little Secret…and a little Rock and Roll

You’d think that while there are plenty of challenges to a recession, that at least the upside is that companies would want your business more than ever. Not true.

It’s been proven time and time again that when the economy slows down, so does the service level we receive. That explains why you enter a big box store and they don’t pay attention to you or why the restaurant you love just isn’t quite as good anymore.

Why does this happen? Plenty of reasons. Establishments are staffed tighter; employees are worried about their future and aren’t performing like they should. Maybe the store isn’t as full and the employees feel less energy from that.

Turn to rock and roll for the answer—my favorite Bruce Springsteen story. Decades ago Springsteen when he was a struggling musician, was set to play a huge coliseum. He was stunned to show up on stage to find only a handful of concertgoers—six or seven people in total. Most performers would have been tempted to walk-off; Springsteen instead chose to continue to perform as if there was a capacity house and gave one of his great shows. Years later after much success and hundreds of sold-out performances, a person came backstage and introduced himself, “You may not remember me, but I was at a concert of yours years ago—in fact, I was one of seven people that were there. It was the best show I ever saw. I’ve been a fan of yours every since.”

That’s the way we should approach our clients everyday whether or not they have as much budget or whether the store is as full as usual. Perform like Springsteen. That’s why they call him the “Boss.”

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