Paul Simon recently wowed a concert crowd — not by weaving his usual musical magic, but by doing something completely unexpected.
A woman in the audience asked him to play “Duncan,” which she said was the very first song she learned how to play on a guitar. Instead of just nodding and smiling, Paul Simon went boldly into an area few professional musicians would go.
He invited the woman on stage to play the song.
As Paul Simon handed Rayna Ford his guitar, the crowd went wild as she started to play, tears running down her cheeks in a combination of sheer joy and nerves.
There are so many ways this could have been a disaster. For one, it could have turned out the woman didn’t really know how to play guitar. Or she could have ended up as one of those stalker-types who wrapped her arms around Simon and wouldn’t let go until Security peeled her off the stage. But neither of those things happened.
In an amazing moment that you knew was being indelibly printed upon the hearts and minds of those concert-goers (let alone Rayna’s), everyone was treated to someone’s wildest dream coming true. Rayna not only played well, she held her own with the lyrics. Simon just mostly stood behind her, encouraging her and clapping at moments as she perfectly sang the lyrics as his band backed her up. You have to watch the video to experience just a taste of what Ford was experiencing as she continued to shake her head in disbelief that this was really happening.
The question is, what are you doing to shine the spotlight on your customer?
Paul Simon is already famous for producing spectacular songs. He certainly didn’t need to endear himself more to his fans but yet did just that. He not only gave a gift to Rayna Ford, he gave a gift to all of us by showing that music isn’t just about the musician. It’s about sharing life, delighting one another, and in this case, cheering on a nervous, disbelieving fan who had the courage to step up to the plate.
We’re not rock stars like Paul Simon, but we can follow his lead.
Paul Simon did not plan this. But because he’s a generous person, it happened. He saw an opportunity to shine the spotlight on someone else and completely made a dream come true.
What can you take from this?
Look for ways to surprise and delight your customers. We may not have Paul Simon’s cultural cache but as we do our work, we’re going to be important to someone. Go above and beyond the call of duty and become memorable. If you saw my “Thank You, Mail Chimp” post, you’ll see how they did just that. I wasn’t expecting a personal touch from a well-known online brand but I got one. What do you think that did to build loyalty and trust?
I don’t want to sound crass and insist you try to replicate Paul Simon’s gift. It’s just something to think about. What made the whole thing so incredible was that it was unplanned.
But Simon saw an opportunity to delight someone and he did just that.
And that’s the key. Notice. Be aware. And be ready to swoop in and completely make your customer’s day. You and your customer will both feel like rock stars!