“I Think I Love You”

In my pre-teens and early teens, David Cassidy was HOT! Magazines featured photos, cover shot and even centerfolds (clothed of course) to adorn the bedroom walls of girls just like me.  The Partridge Family was on ABC television each week.  We watched religiously and saved our allowance to buy the latest record album which we played over and over and over again – so much so that now,  nearly 40 years later, we can still hear the songs clearly in the the soundtrack of our memories.

David Cassidy still performs and thousands of women age 45-65 pay to see him every year.  Over the last decade or so, he’s released a number of cds of more contemporary music and dedicated fans bought enough of them to give him at least one platinum album.

Though I have never kept close tabs on David, once in awhile I would check his website to see if he was scheduled to play a venue somewhere here on the west coast.   Recently, he was on the calendar at a new venue. Sage Court in Scottsdale, AZ.  VIP tickets were reasonably priced and included a “meet and greet”.  OMG!!!

My husband’s response when I floated this idea by him; “Why wouldn’t you?”  No eye roll or anything.  Have I said recently that I love this man?

Now it’s the weekend before Thanksgiving and we are in Scottsdale for the concert.  Realistically, I had limited expectations.  We have seen enough stars whose brighter days were behind them to be prepared for a 60 year old version of a teen idol – or so I thought.

Because I am a business person and my goal is to use each example I present here, both good and bad as a learning opportunity here is the “moral of this story”:  KNOW YOUR CUSTOMER.  Know what they want, how they want it and give it to them!

In this case, David Cassidy’s “customer” is a middle-aged, accomplished, affluent woman and she does not suffer fools lightly.  She has customer experience expectations she did not have when she was 12 or 13.  She has gathered her friends or rallied her husband, put on her high heels and make up for a trip down memory lane.

She doesn’t need her “idol” to have been preserved intact – she owns a mirror and has made peace with her own wrinkles.  But she deserves to be allowed to keep her memories and have her loyalty respected.

That means when she has lined up and patiently waited (in heels) for an hour before the show for the “meet and greet” and you’ve sold more VIP tickets than you can reasonably accommodate in the time allotted,  you need to be prepared.

In retail, it’s called a “rain check”.  A team member could have marked the ticket of each person still waiting in line or used a hole punch or colored marker on the edge of the VIP pass to indicate those who had not yet had their contracts fulfilled.

What not to do? Send a harried, overwhelmed team member out to tell your best customers “David has to go warm up.  Please go to your seats.  We’ll see if we can arrange something for after the show and will make an announcement. When I asked point blank, “How will you know who hasn’t been through yet?” I was told, “I’m eyeballing it – we’ll know.”

Uncertainty breeds fear. The rumblings of the rest of the line made it clear they were uncomfortable with the ambiguous nature of the “we’ll see what we can do”  – “come back later” dismissal.  We paid extra for this feature, lined up and waited as asked.  Now we feared the contract would not be honored.

Customers deserve clear resolutions to problems that arise.  To leave matters unsettled makes it harder to do business with this customer going forward, a lesson David Cassidy learned when he took the stage.

Part 2 continues on Friday!


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