We, The Consumer.

Social media (Vimeo, Twitter, Facebook, and my new personal favorite – Untappd) and the proliferation of portable consumer electronics are changing how & when we interact with each other, so it stands to reason that We, The Consumer demand greater, more personal interaction from the entities who want our business. I suspect things will continue in that direction until ApplePixarCyberdyne, Inc. implants entertainment microchips in our brain. At which point, I hope, there is a serious consumer backlash.

The New York Times had a great article about hotel chains enhancing their employee’s customer service abilities with improvisation skills. The whole piece is an interesting read with great input from multiple corners of the hospitality industry. There are two stand-out quotes:

There are 228 hotel brands in the United States, and the two ways to be distinctive are design and service,” he said. “Service can be a great differentiator.


Yep. We, The Consumer expect more. We’ve always wanted more, but it’s been nearly impossible to achieve while interacting with marginally trained employees. The person with the power to actually, you know, help hiding behind a bank of closed circuit televisions and laughing maniacally at the whole frustrating conversation.

But the curtain has been pulled back. In turning to social media to advertise at We, The Consumer, companies have discovered they now have to talk with We, The Consumer. And it’s carrying over to real-world interaction.

The goal was to foster ‘intuitive service,’ said Jennifer Lee, the Elysian’s learning and development director. “Service by most luxury hotels is based on scripts. We want our people to have interactions with guests; improv gave them tools that enabled them to be successful with their intuition.

Performance improvisation requires a handful of skills to succeed, all of which are directly applicable to any communication scenario:

Focus, presence, and engagement only in this moment. Not from where we’ve just come or to where we are going next.

Responsibility for both sides of communication – sending our message and making sure it was received (and in the manner intended).

That we do something with the information we receive. Not just nod in agreement.

“Every interpersonal situation has a solution in which everyone wins.”

Del Close

It’s time to abandon the script, Corporate America. At least empower your employees with permission and skills to go off-book when necessary. We can both win! Consumers have more choices and more information than ever. To stand out you must communicate with, not at, We, The Consumer.

– Jay

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About Jay Olson

Since 1994 I've had the opportunity to make audiences laugh all over the United States and abroad. I provide business solutions to a variety of industries, including; healthcare, telecommunications, government, higher education, and more. I keep my performance skills sharp with Baby Wants Candy - The Improvised Musical With Full Band.

Posted on September 23, 2011, in business improvisation, Chicago Team Building, Communication, improv, Leadership, Quotes, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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