Partner with your Customers

One last thought from Chautauqua Institute, NY:


Last night I attended the Chautauqua Orchestra concert celebrating July 4th. The program included such expected songs as:

The Star Spangled Banner

America the Beautiful

and some not expected songs:

A melody of songs from the Sound of Music and a tribute to the 50’s.

The minute Stuart Chafetz, guest conductor, took the stage, you knew it would be a fun evening. He faced the crowd wearing a white jacket, black trousers and a lipstick red vest. He grabbed the microphone and told us we (a crowd of about 5,000) would be needed to make the evening a success.

The orchestra has a history of performing at the institute for over 70 years, so you know they didn’t really NEED us to be fantastic, however, through out the evening, we were called upon to partner with the orchestra:

– We were asked to sing along with the songs from Sound of Music

– Dancers were called to the front to “sock hop” during the tribute to the 50’s

– We had to pucker up and whistle along with the Colonel Bogey March

– Members of the armed forces were asked to stand during the Armed Forces on parade

But the greatest partnership of all came during the 1812 Overture, Op. 49.

Upon arrival to the amphitheatre, we’d all been given 3 brown paper bags, the size used for a lunch.

During the 1812 Overture, where you might hear cannon fire at other concerts, the audience was bid to blow up and POP the bags on cue.

First we practiced by clapping our hands. The crowd of thousands was divided into four groups. We didn’t always take good direction and so had to practice a few times.

However, when it came time for the real deal – we were spectacular.

The sound was deafeningly brilliant.

What a partnership.

I ask you – when was the last time you looked to your customer to help make your product or service even more spectacular? Is there a creative way they can be included to make your company better?

Have you considered asking them “why do you buy from us?” or better yet, “What WOULD you buy if we offered it?”

Make your company that much better by taking your customers as a partner.

If it is anything like the concert last night – it will be explosive!