Have you heard of Zappos? It’s an online shoe company. What does this have to do with piano teaching? Lots!
Picture this: You’re vacationing in Vegas when you realize you forgot to pack your favorite shoes. But that’s okay, because they were purchased from Zappos (who offer overnight delivery). So, you head online to buy a replacement pair, but the same shoes are out of stock! Don’t worry… all’s not lost, because Zappos (whose headquarters is just outside of Vegas) sends a customer service representative to a Vegas mall to purchase the exact pair of shoes from a competitors store and then deliver them to you. That’s some insane service right there!
Zappos is a customer service genius. Stories like this one are all over the internet. They understand that crazy acts of kindnes reap big rewards.
Piano Teacher Public Relations
I’ve been thinking about this story a lot lately – about how Zappos has committed themselves to doing whatever it takes to ensure customer satisfaction; going completely out of their way to please just one out of thousands and thousands of customers.
And, as I so often do, I have been thinking about how I can take a page from Zappos book and apply it to my own piano teaching studio. What can my “pair of shoes” be? How can I change my piano studio public relations to also show this much of a commitment to my clients (both current and future).
The Personal Touch, The Give and The Surprise Factor
Using this awesome story I’ve figured out the three most important parts of what made it so great: the fact that the customer was treated as though she were their only client, the fact that it was generous and the fact that it was not expected. These three factors are what will guide me on my quest to become the Zappos of the piano studios in my area.
The great part about this approach to customer service is that your acts of service don’t need to be grand. In fact, they can be extremely simple so long as they involve the combination of these three things. Here’s a simple way to inject some Zappos into your piano studio:
1. Pay attention – always be on the lookout for opportunities to be fabulous and to really bring a personal touch to what you do in your studio. In fact, make it a part of your monthly tasks to search out these chances to do good.
2. Be generous – do the simple piano teacher math. Zappos knew that the $150 pair of shoes would translate into not only one life-long customer, but massive exposure to her friends and family… and eventually the media. Giving one pair of shoes away meant hundreds of purchases in return.
We are in a profession where word-of-mouth is king. It’s worth it to be generous. Even just one retained piano student or one new client translates into a minimum of $600 per year (and in many cases much more).
3. Surprise Them – acts of service are most appreciated when it is unexpected. The surprise factor will generate more excitement (and therefore more reciprocity). Expecting nothing in return also fits in with the surprise factor; this is an act of service with no strings attached.
Taking a Look at the Big Picture
It’s so easy to get bogged down in the day-to-day annoyances of running your own business. Dealing with the public can be exhausting… and, lets face it, annoying. Read any piano teaching forum and you’ll see the same headaches we all share. But looking at the big picture helps to take a step beyond. If you are continually focusing on the positives and are on the lookout for ways you can be a customer service master, the payoffs for your piano teaching studio will be huge.
Zappos has created big shoes to fill, but follow in the footsteps of this company and learn to stay on your toes when it comes to your piano studio public relations (enough shoe cliché’s there for ya?!) 🙂
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