“My father taught me the only way you can make good at anything was to practice, and then practice some more.” ~ Pete Rose
Last week I wrote about the idea of approaching giving outstanding customer service as though you were an actor in a play giving the performance of a lifetime. Anyone who has stepped onto a stage will tell you, the performance of a lifetime doesn’t just happen, it takes hours and hours of practice. So this week, to keep the focus on world-class customer service, I wanted to talk about practice – or rehearsal if that’s what you want to call it.
Talk to any professional athlete who ever reached the pinnacle of their sport – Whether Pete Rose in baseball, Tiger Woods in golf, Larry Bird in basketball, Wayne Gretzky in hockey or the Green Bay Packers of the 1960’s under the tutelage of Vince Lombardi, and they will all tell you – going the extra mile in practice got them there. The Green Bay Packers had the smallest playbook in professional football with only a handful of plays, but they ran those plays in practice over and over and over until they were near perfect – and when they ran those plays in a game, even when the opposing team knew what play they would run next, they just couldn’t stop them. We’ve all seen those old films of the Green Bay Packers in practice with the booming voice of Lombardi screaming out, “Run it again!” And they did. They ran those plays until they simply could not be stopped.
That’s what has to happen if you want to truly give world-class customer service. You have to practice until you are ready for any situation, question or circumstance that gets thrown your way. Then you have to practice some more, so you can give that performance of lifetime.
But any great actor will also tell you, they don’t just rehearse, they follow a script. They know exactly what to say. Now don’t get me wrong, canned scripts can be pretty unexciting for both the speaker and the listener, but rehearsing a script doesn’t mean it’s the same over and over. Bill Cosby is one of the great comedians of all time, but if you went to a dozen of his shows, each one would be different. He would make adjustments to go with the flow of the audience. He still might cover the same material, but the delivery would vary depending on the situation. The same approach must be true in the business world.
Practice until you know what you’re going to say and how you’re going to say it, but then keep enough journalistic freedom in your performance to make it yours and to make it unique to the situation. Practice with your co-workers. Exchange ideas. Set aside time on a regular basis to hone your performance. The payoff will be tremendous.
- Concentrate On Your Talents, Not Your Weaknesses! (optionsanimal.com)