Musicians & Customer Service

In the circle of post inspirations, this post has been inspired by Christine Kane’s post over at her blog. Christine Kane is a very talented musician who also happens to have a very good blog. In addition, she provides exemplary customer service to her customers (which are her fans/listeners/etc.).

The story goes like this. During Successful Blog’s Open Mic Night, I was made aware of her songs, but mentioned that I didn’t have RealPlayer or iTunes and had no intent to download either. I eventually found a way around using one of those programs, but that is not the point. She went the extra mile and put one of her songs into a format that almost anyone can listen to.

So Christine provided great customer service to a customer. What else should musicians and similar artists try and do?

Be nice.
It may seem redundant, but it is worth saying: be nice! As a musician (which is the term I’m using), you have to be nice to fans, the media, your agent, your manager, and pretty much everyone else you deal with. The kindness may not always be returned, but chances are, it’ll be returned more frequently if you are nice to them.

Do your job.
Besides doing your actual job as a musician (showing up to record things, writing music, etc.), there are other jobs you have to do. Sign autographs when people ask, try and reply to letters and emails, listen to what people say, and so on. You probably have time to do this if you aren’t a superstar, and it’ll definitely help you sell CDs, tickets, or whatever else.

Listen.
Christine showed a great example of listening. A customer said he didn’t have a certain program so she used another. If customers are consistently (or maybe even not consistently – if the fix easy enough) complaining about something, you should try your best to fix it. If they say you are always late, figure out how to get on time. If your web site crashes their computers, fix it.

Be accessible.
I posted a comment on Christine’s blog asking her to email me. Within a few hours, she emailed me. She also has a detailed contact page with a whole bunch of ways to contact her. Musicians and other artists should make themselves accessible. They don’t have to reply to every fan email, but they should reply to some.

Respect others.

I’m glad I wasn’t shown the door when I admitted I didn’t have iTunes or RealPlayer. However, respect is something that all musicians (and all people) should have. The respect should also be for more important groups (races, religions, etc.) instead of relatively small and insignificant groups (lack of certain software). Be nice to everyone and it’ll out better for everyone.

A fairly short post today, but I think readers will get the point. This post continues to show that underlying theme of it is important to be nice to people all the time. Everyone from an totally unknown musician to a very well known superstar musician should really try to be nice to everyone – it’s being a good person and good customer service.

Have a great weekend.

3 Responses to “Musicians & Customer Service”

  1. Christine Kane said:

    Aug 05, 06 at 1:54 pm

    Thanks, Doug, for your praise and kind words!

    It’s interesting to read this. I’ve thought about it a lot since yesterday when you posted it. And I wonder if my thoughts will add any insights to the idea of Customer Service…

    Ultimately, my belief is that EVERY profession is a service profession. AND that belief has come to me after lots of “me me me” approaches to my art and performance. Though I’ve never been overly Diva-ish, I’ve had to go through some deep soul-searching during times when I felt lost and tired from all the challenges of touring, writing, music biz, interviews, fan requests, etc. That soul-searching led me to become stronger in my approach to my work and art. It led me to set bigger bolder intents for my life as an overall picture. (Thanks to Stephen Covey, Cheryl Richardson and other business-focused writers.)

    When I see musicians who don’t do well with the “customer service” parts of their careers, it’s typically because they’re all so tired, burnt-out and unhappy that they simply don’t have any more to offer! It’s crazy in the music business right now especially since so many labels and publishing companies aren’t doing well.

    It’s a great time to be an independent artist…AND being independent requires that we learn new and more pro-active models for ourselves and our careers. I’m excited about the changes. But it can be daunting and overwhelming, as well.

    This year, I’m taking time away from the road for the very reason that I got so tired that I wasn’t able to keep up with small requests from fans and employee issues at my office. That’s the key thing for me — to recognize that when I don’t want to listen, when I don’t want to be kind to people, when I cease caring — those are symptoms that I’m exhausted and anxiety-ridden! (And believe me, there have been lots of times when I haven’t been nice…)

    So, a year ago, I might not have come through for you on that song! =)

    Thanks again, Doug!

  2. Meikah said:

    Aug 08, 06 at 3:53 am

    Hi, Doug! Your title got me. As a pseudo-musician myself, I somehow know the feeling of performing before a satisfied audience. Too bad I missed by a few hours that Open Mic session on music. See you on the next one!

  3. Custserv » The Audience as Customers - The New Competitive Edge said:

    Aug 08, 06 at 11:47 pm

    […] Over at Doug Hanna’s Service Untitled, he wrote about musicians and customer service. He shared this incident: […]