Since they are so difficult, you decide to change the customer service process, you make it more efficient, which means less personal -- hey, who needs to be berated by customers?
You decide to answer calls only with official-looking communications.
This could have happened even as you decided to put more time and attention into communicating with them, using new media as channels, letting them know about all of the great new services you're providing.
Do you think you have a problem?
Drama is not the only kind of model that presupposes a collaborative effort in the modes of production and a collective form of reception. The enactment of a script has become part of "best" practices.
What would happen if instead of having a story already written, you enacted it in the moment, while in conversation? Would you improvise more if you knew how to do that effectively?
Improvisation allows you to put a human face on the business. It helps you build a context where time and attention are given with a specific focus on the present moment, what's happening right now.
The meaning of drama comes from ancient Greece.
Having been immersed in plenty of Greek, Latin, and the classic over the years, I thought it would be fun to take a look at types of customer service by improvisation we could have using each genre under the "drama-tization" umbrella, experimenting on both sides of the fence:
- tragedy -- your customers have suffered a great deal over the lack of your services, a brutal offense was committed behind the scenes and you're now trying to exact justice; your customer service rep has committed the extreme human action of reciting from script and not listening.
- comedy -- if you're not staging an experience worth talking about, eventually your ending with customers may cause laughter; what happens when it's your customer service team that thinks it's alright to have a laugh or two at the expense of service?
- satire -- this is when your customers are taking it in stride and decide to humor themselves (and their friends) by posting about what they think of you online; if your team is insolent, it may mean that it cannot face a conversation with customers.
- Medieval drama -- thinking about the Church of the Customer here. If you have customer evangelists, make sure that you have many of those among your team as well.
- opera -- that's when your customers have plenty of passion to get out with their story; on the company side, there may be use of smaller teams (orchestras) as a cost-cutting measure due to smaller budgets.
- pantomime -- the telling of stories, often improvised, to impart lessons along with the crowd. Depending on where this is performed, you could swap the main character -- the customer has an audience, and so does the service team.
The last one feels like the most modern of all, doesn't it?
Here's the best part of all though -- although to tell your story you need characters and a context, you're in control of both. In other words, if you go to the trouble of constructing a story, why not fix it so that the reality can follow up in positive and productive ways?
Digital media and social technologies open up more opportunities for creative drama to educate, enlighten, and energize.
Happy Labor Day to U.S. readers.
[edited from archives]
Valeria is an experienced listener. She is also frequent speaker at conferences and companies on a variety of topics. To book her for a speaking engagement click here.