The statement: “Marketing includes everything that touches the customer, or the customer sees.” is a point-of-view I embrace. More than embracing that point-of-view, I am blessed/cursed with 360-degree awareness. That awareness comes from my disc jockey background.
First, working in nightclubs, I worked in permanent DJ booths which were elevated offering a complete view of the venue. I was trained to scan the room and ‘take my walks’, periodically, to check on sound distribution and quality. Working as a mobile DJ, events gives one a similar view of the room. It is, however, easy to fall in a trap of putting on blinders and operating in your little zone, plus the dance floor.
One person who I never worked for, Ray Ford, was a significant influence on me. In the 1970’s Ray was the Director of Entertainment for Bobby McGees Conglomeration, a restaurant/discotheque chain, based in Phoenix. This was a company with intelligent and detailed procedures, and top-notch quality control. Bobby McGees provided extensive training for DJ entertainers, and every person they employed.
I did interview with him at one point, but didn’t wind up working with him. That was a missed opportunity, for me.
In the mid-80’s, I was writing for Nightclub & Bar Magazine, and spoke at their 1986 conference in Las Vegas. Ray had moved on to being a nightclub consultant and was also speaking at the conference. I attended one of Ray’s sessions, and several things he said had an immediate impact on me, and are present in my mindset, to this day.
“If it affects the customer, or the customer can see it, you need to take care of the problem, as soon possible.”
~ Ray Ford
Ray would go on to explain, by example. Many examples. Some were simple and obvious, but were problems one would see often.
- A problem might be a noisy mixer at the bar, inhibiting conversation. Get it repaired or replaced.
- It might be a crumpled napkin on the floor. Don’t pass by it. Pick it up and toss it in the trash. It doesn’t matter if it’s YOUR station. This is a TEAM situation. This is much like the outlook at Disney theme parks. They have people dedicated to minimizing trash, such that their guests are less likely to drop trash.
- If a beautiful leather booth has a tear, get it repaired, tomorrow.
- When you see a damaged chair, perhaps one that isn’t level, take it out of service and replace it with one that’s 100%
It might mean informing a fellow professional of a potential hazard or issue… poorly secured cable, a guest that has downed 6 tequilas in 25 minutes, or some other logistical or agenda issue. It’s generally not a matter of telling a peer what to do, just letting them know, so they can address the issue, should it be necessary.
Knowing your peers at a wedding reception is always helpful. They will tend to be more receptive and less intimidated. Should you ‘save their bacon’, even once, they’ll appreciate it. Let them pat YOU on the back. Don’t remind them how helpful you were. They know it.
Often, people have their own way of doing things, and what one observes may be of no consequence. That’s fine. But if someone is about to go off a cliff, it’s not a bad idea to softly throw a caution flag by pointing it out.
Prevention of train wrecks is not common contract terminology. But it should be in the DNA of every wedding professional.
Even people with the best of 360-degree awareness will miss things. When someone steps up with a suggestion, don’t dismiss it out-of-hand. Don’t be in denial. Instead, stop and look at it from their point of view. Don’t focus on being right. Focus on getting it right.
That’s what teamwork is: Awareness and Anticipation… Shared, without ego involved
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