Earlier this year, I was fortunate enough to see comedian Chris Rock at The Theater at Madison Square Garden. While there, I encountered something I’ve never seen at any other venue. Just before the security check, they were handing out cases that locked up our cell phones.
Ultimately, their goal was to prevent attendees from taking video footage of the event. You could keep your phone on you, but because it was locked, you just couldn’t use it. If you needed to make a phone call or get in touch with someone, all you had to do was walk out of the theater and they would unlock it for you. Then they’d lock it up again to let you walk back in.
This is a good practice in theory, but, before we could even make it inside, we found ourselves at a dead stop. Apparently, they ran out of the security cases that locked the phones. We waited in the very same spot for 45 minutes before they finally decided to just take our phones from us and issue a coat check ticket so we could retrieve them at the end of the show.
In fairness to them, they did give us two complimentary tickets to see the Rockettes. But the damage was already done. People were yelling, clearly upset that, despite the fact that they had purchased tickets, they couldn’t get in. For us specifically, we didn’t gain entry to the venue until 10 minutes before Chris Rock began his act, which means we missed all of the opening acts.
Plus, the whole ordeal put us in a lousy mood, and who wants to see a comedian then? It wasn’t what we wanted and I imagine it wasn’t what they wanted either. It left a bad taste in everyone’s mouth.
When you’re in business and you set out to do something, you really need to be prepared. Take the time to consider ways your customers/clientele may be put out, and then make sure you’ve got it covered.
Granted, you can’t always be prepared for everything that gets thrown your way, but this situation was one that could’ve easily been prevented by having enough phone cases to cover all attendees. Most people have cell phones nowadays, so it would have been fairly obvious to expect that each ticket holder would want to bring one in.
In our professional lives, this lesson translates into thinking about each situation we face, each decision we make, and considering what we need to do to provide the best customer experience possible. Be thoughtful and create a plan that addresses potential issues that could leave a bad taste in our client’s mouths.
For instance, if you are planning a meeting and have handouts for your guests, make enough copies so that everyone can have one. Better yet, make more copies than you need in case extra people show up or some are damaged.
Troubleshooting in advance will insure that you don’t leave your customers standing in the cold, wondering why you didn’t plan properly. Do what you can to give them a stellar experience, one that they’ll remember for all of the right reasons. Give them your best stand-up act and trust me…they’ll remember THAT for a long time.