Each August, DJs and company owners congregate in the seminar halls of the DJ Expo to learn about the latest business strategies, performance techniques and technological breakthroughs. This year’s seminars offered a combination of annual staples, plus a batch of new presenters with fresh perspectives.
One of them, “Do Like Disney: Next-Level Customer Service,” presented by Brian Buonassissi, owner of a luxury DJ service in New York City offered a compelling presentation regarding customer service.
First, borrowing the concept from author Seth Godin, Buonassissi asserted that in a field full of black and brown cows, DJ companies should strive to be perceived as “purple cows” – unique and different. By being different, this allows us to sell on our unique attributes rather than on price.
In the world of Disney, the company’s primary objective is to create brand loyalty that results, for example, in return visits to its theme parks. In fact, many Disney vacationers are eager to book their next Disney visit upon returning home.
To create customer loyalty, it’s critical for DJ company owners to create an “experience mentality.” If our clients feel like cogs in the machine who are simply getting processed—think of a visit to the post office—then we have not done a good job in creating an “experience.”
Buonassissi presented four powerful lessons from Disney that DJs can immediately apply to improve their businesses:
1) Look at everything through the lens of the client.
2) Pay attention to details. These details speak volumes about your business.
3) Create “moments of Wow!”
4) Know what frustrates your clients, and importantly, do something about it.
Regarding looking at everything through the lens of the client, Buonassissi recommends “service mapping” — looking at the individual steps in a particular service process. With these steps drawn as blocks, which blocks represent areas of immediate opportunity? Are there any steps in the process that are currently being done in mediocre fashion that have the potential to be done in excellent fashion?
Buonassissi recommends getting employees involved. Many of these fixes can be done for free, but provide big results. There is a wealth of processes for DJs to examine, everything from how phone inquiries are handled, to how a DJ conducts himself at a wedding.
For the second principle, paying attention to details, client perception is more important than a DJ’s positive intention. For example, how might a bride perceive their DJ who can’t seem to put his cellphone down on the job? Or comes to a job with a wrinkled suit and dirty shoes? Or engages in profane banter with colleagues prior to the gig? Buonassissi stresses the importance of leaving any negative attitudes backstage. For example, the crowds at Disney would never want to see Cinderella cursing and smoking cigarettes like she just was a moment ago backstage.
The third principle is “creating moments of Wow!” These gestures do not necessarily have to be big-budget, magnanimous enhancements, but can simply be a series of little things that add up. Buonassissi recently implemented a systematic program of gift-giving for weddings, presenting clients with a series of personalized gifts at different points of the engagement. Sample gifts include a personalized rose (matched to the couple’s wedding colors), a customized 45-inch vinyl LP of the couple’s first dance song, and premium chocolates.
Two websites Brian uses to purchase personalized vinyl LPs include meeprecords.com and onecutvinyl.com. Buonassissi recommends presenting gifts after a wedding at 30 days, 100 days and 500 days. These increments are deliberately unusual, because it’s important for your gifts to stand out from the crowd. It is not recommended that you send cards for the Christmas holidays or the couple’s first anniversary, because they can easily get lost in the shuffle.
Other examples of creating “wow” moments are sending personalized video messages from the DJ to the client at set intervals prior to the gig, and for wedding DJs, having a box of tissues available for brides who inevitably start crying during the toast.
The final principle of “know what frustrates your client, and then do something about it” represents a huge opportunity for most DJs. Just as Disney had a problem (and opportunity) with its long lines that frustrated guests, consumers of DJ entertainment suffer frustration. For example, consider the corporate buyer who quickly needs a series of paperwork and forms to complete the booking process. To make things easier, Buonassissi created a special VIP micro website where all of these forms can easily be accessed by the client. Buonassissi recommends that DJ company staffs meet periodically to identify these areas of frustration and then systematically solve each challenge.
Gregg Hollmann is the owner of Ambient DJ Service in East Windsor, N.J.