Impact Learning Systems


Look What Happens When You Expect The Best Monica Postell

sytycd-poster1You 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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