Impact Learning Systems


Look What Happens When You Expect The Best Monica Postell

sytycd poster1 Look What Happens When You Expect The BestYou just need to prac­tice, prac­tice, prac­tice in order to expect the best.

Hello, my name is Mon­ica and I'm a So You Think You Can Dance fan. I might as well admit it; I'm pretty much hooked on all real­ity TV dance shows. Fri­day night I was in the audi­ence of the Sea­son 7 So You Think You Can Dance road show with sev­eral thou­sand appre­cia­tive teenagers and a few thou­sand equally loud pre­teens. Regard­less the dif­fer­ence in age (and attire) we were all there for the same rea­son: To see our favorite dancers do what they do so incred­i­bly well, dance! And dance, they did, with seem­ing aban­don now that the judges weren't around to cri­tique them.

In a per­fect blend of tal­ent and train­ing, over and over the dancers flew through the air trust­ing they'd be caught. One of the num­bers involved all the male dancers in black and white and Lau­ren, this year's win­ner of America's favorite SYTYCD dancer, in a con­fec­tion of pink tulle. What got my atten­tion (aside from the cos­tumes) and kept me on the edge of my seat was the coor­di­na­tion of effort the dance required and the trust the dancers, espe­cially Lau­ren, had to have in each other. At one point I was seri­ously wor­ried. Lau­ren was danc­ing away on a spindly chair atop a long table and, to add a degree of dif­fi­culty, was being pushed from one end of the table to the other, spun, lifted and shoved to the other end again not by just one han­dler but by just about every­one in the ensem­ble at one point or another. One wrong move and, splat, some­one could get hurt. But the rou­tine was flawless.

Wow, I thought, this takes "expect­ing the best" to an all new high. Why were they able to make those death defy­ing catches look so easy? Well, duh, they trusted one another because they prac­ticed and prac­ticed and prac­ticed until they got each move down per­fectly. Their hard work allowed them to expect the best of each other.

In the audi­ence, I too expected the best. I expected the dancers to have mas­tered the chore­og­ra­phy. And I wasn't dis­ap­pointed. In fact, the dancers took mar­velous rou­tines I'd already seen on TV and kicked them up a notch… maybe a dozen notches… maybe two dozen! I was more than delighted (as the peo­ple sit­ting near me no doubt were aware).

As I sat there in my nar­row sta­dium seat, I had a minor epiphany about ser­vice deliv­ery and expect­ing the best. Here's what occurred to me:

  • Cus­tomer ser­vice rep­re­sen­ta­tives, tech­ni­cal sup­port reps, field engi­neers and sales asso­ciates who "expect the best" of them­selves and their cowork­ers are in a great posi­tion to not just sat­isfy cus­tomers but to sur­prise and delight them.
  • To expect the best, you need to "mas­ter the chore­og­ra­phy". You need to under­stand what to do, why to do it, and how to do it per­fectly. Then you need to prac­tice doing "your dance" under the guid­ance and coach­ing of a "mas­ter" until you per­fect every more.
  • You also need to under­stand you're not work­ing alone. The goal has to be to syn­chro­nize your actions with the work of oth­ers in your orga­ni­za­tion. This requires under­stand­ing what other peo­ple do and how what you do impacts your cowork­ers and ulti­mately your cus­tomer. That's called the "rip­ple effect" and I'll save that topic for another post.
  • Finally, cus­tomers expect you to "know the chore­og­ra­phy" of your job. When you mas­ter your job, are in sync with the rest of the orga­ni­za­tion and under­stand how you fit into the over­all pic­ture, you can kick your ser­vice up a notch. You have a chance to sur­prise, delight, impress and give the cus­tomer a supe­rior experience.

So there you have it. I bet you can't wait to see what I'll come up with after watch­ing Danc­ing With The Stars!

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  • Lori Jo Vest

    Great anal­ogy! (And, great show, of course!) If you've read Out­liers by Mal­colm Glad­well, it takes 10,000 to be a true expert. Those who are experts in ser­vice should be applauded like any dancer. It's chal­leng­ing, it takes hard work to excel and it's reward­ing when your audi­ence falls in love with you.

  • Mon­ica Postell

    Lori, Thanks for your com­ment and the Glad­well ref­er­ence. It's a good one because it puts into per­spec­tive what it may take to be an expert. The num­ber is pretty daunt­ing, isn't it. I guess we've got to be on a con­stant path of tran­scend­ing our last best effort.

    I absolutely agree with you that ser­vice experts ought to be rec­og­nized and applauded like stars. (And I think great teach­ers ought to be treated like rock stars but that's off topic.) I don't know about you but lately I've found that a quick tweet about good ser­vice gets noticed by com­pa­nies. Hope­fully my pos­i­tive feed­back rip­ples back to the rep.

  • Web Agent

    What a clever com­par­i­tive post! I guess, great cus­tomer ser­vice can be eas­ily achieved by learn­ing all the chore­og­ra­phy in the dance of cus­tomer exchange and responsibility.

  • Cas­son­dra Fanatia

    I cant believe the mul­ti­tude of great info you have on your blog. I have learned a lot from it. Will be com­ing back soon.

  • Grace Lan­don

    Mon­ica you can learn and teach more from a few chal­leng­ing dance moves than any­one else around. This is sim­ple bril­liant think­ing. I will be back for more insights again and again. Thank you!

  • What does it mean to "Expect the Best"? — Quora

    […] but to sur­prise and delight them.For a fun twist on expect­ing the best check out this blog post:…This answer .Please spec­ify the nec­es­sary improve­ments. Edit Link Text Show answer summary […]

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