What I Learned from a Showgirl
If you haven’t been there, you’ve heard of it. This place is the meeting-convention-capital…Of The World. Known for the razzle-dazzle, you’ll see everything from bright lights to glitz, gaming and entertainment. Oh, and the food. Who knew such a spectacle would take over the middle of a dessert, on a single strip of pavement. Yes, I’m referencing Las Vegas, Nevada. While there is something amusing for everyone, which is why it’s such a popular destination, it is also a great place to have a business meeting (which is more in line with my type of entertainment!)
Do you like to “donate your money,” too? I personally don’t but I know a few individuals that do. Themed hotels with adjoining casinos are the main makeup of The Strip in Vegas, and each and every one has a unique entertainment offering, or a show, or something completely outlandish, that will entice you to stay there overnight and spend the big bucks.
Many of these hotels offer free entertainment, aimed at creating a spectacle, to attract a crowd and lure you to make your donations. Once, I stayed at a hotel that was named the “Highest Show in Las Vegas.” It was an extraordinary combination of dancing and music, and carnival themed activities, all taking place suspended in the sky on platforms and wires. You could view the display from ground-level by tilting back your head or make your way to the second-floor balcony to see it at eye-level.
The marvelous show performed multiple times a day to draw in the crowds. The loud music, action and people, of course, won my attention as I was on my way to my room for the night. I found myself standing there in awe as the people performed incredible acts, and the show concluded with a rousing ovation.
The following morning, when walking by the show spot, the same entertainers were rehearsing. They were not dressed in their elaborate costumes, the music was not cranked up loud, and the lights were off. But, they were going through the same routines, practicing the same moves. They were singing and dancing to the same songs. A director would occasionally stop them and bring a tight huddle together. One person would come out of the huddle and demonstrate a specific series of steps and then they would line up and do the routine again. The director would either shout words of encouragement or stop to coach them again.
What I learned from these show girls is that even though they perform the same act multiple times a day, it was not enough to rely on the actual performance as their practice. Even though they were up late last night entertaining people, they were also up early the next morning practicing, seeking to improve their presentation, or working to keep their presentation perfect.
This begs a question for you. Even though your technicians are performing multiple shows a day (three to four service calls), does that equate to their practice as well? Should you take a lesson from a showgirl and role-play with your technicians to practice, improve your presentation, and continue working toward your goal of perfection?
If you agree pursuing perfection is a valuable exercise, follow these role-play tips to leave your customers in a positive state of amazement:
Tip One: Call it anything but “Role-Play.” Just the name role-play means you are acting out a part, which is probably not something that most technicians wish to do. Instead, call it “Batting Practice” or “Commitment to Excellence.” Batting Practice is what the pros do to mentally prepare for the big game. Techs don’t mind making a commitment to excellence or taking batting practice, they just don’t want to role-play.
Tip Two: The Manager should assume the role of the customer. This will allow the manager to adjust the difficulty of the batting practice to meet the skill of the technician. If you let a technician play the role of the customer, often they will be the most unreasonable, unruly customer that has ever walked the face of this earth. A scenario that isn’t real or that happens only once a year is not beneficial batting practice. Use scenarios that are relevant to everyday situations.
Tip Three: Allow the technician that is taking batting practice to win! When professional baseball players take batting practice they are lobbying up balls right down the middle of the plate. It’s not the Cy Young winning pitcher throwing 100 mph fastballs and four-foot breaking balls. The batting practice pitcher is letting the batters hit homeruns to build confidence.
Tip Four: Videotape the batting practice for the technician to review. It is often enlightening to observe your mannerism and the words you say by watching it all on video. There is often a big discrepancy between what you think you are doing versus what you are actually doing. There is nothing like a videotape to evidence it.
Tip Five: Provide “Gifts of Encouragement.” For every piece of constructive feedback you provide the technician, make sure you give at least three positive attributes of what they did correctly.
To keep your team operating at peak performance apply the, “What I Learned From a Showgirl” lesson. Stop and coach, encourage, and empower your team to do their very best. Practice will only make you better and will enable you to turn your company into a Money-Making Machine.