customer communication

What a Musician Can Teach You about Customer Communication

Sometimes cool stuff happens. And when it does, it’s an opportunity to learn from something or someone that you may not have expected, including about business communication from a less than obvious source: a musician.

Recently, I had the pleasure of attending a concert with pretty great local (Vancouver Island, BC) talent, Vince Vaccaro, in one of the most intimate settings imaginable: 40 people, huddled together in a guy’s living room, lit with nothing but candle light. In a nutshell, it was awesome.

It was an amazing sight and experience, being in this very unique environment, feeling pretty honoured to be there and hanging on to how special the moment was. And as Vince sung passionately and recounted his stories of song writing challenges, latest travels, in-the-moment thoughts and his next adventures, a few things jumped out at me around how his work as a musical artist could really, positively benefit an organization in how it communicates with its customers.

Communication lessons from a local musician:

  • Don’t ignore creativity – “Creative people will get it.” This was something Vince said to the audience when recounting a story about how hard it was to song write. A brand could benefit from tapping into being one of those “creative people” when expressing itself. Customers will be inspired and feel more connected, not only by seeing your company’s personality but also witnessing beyond what’s expected and into what some would consider art. Successful musicians create music that resonates with their audience emotionally, tapping into something very personal for each of them. Why can’t a brand do the same? It’s often recommended that a company show it’s human-side, so its customer can find something to relate to, and having a unique, creative voice takes that brand humanity a step further.

Lesson #1 – Tap into your creativity, officially (marketing/PR) and organically (as a part of your culture) to show it’s not only human, but also not a boring one.

  • Words are important but people may only care about the melody – Vince recounted a story of how much energy and focus it takes to craft lyrics for his songs. That though it takes him very little time to pick up a melody, it can take an amazing amount of effort for the words. And what surprises him (and maybe bothers him a little) is that some people don’t even hear the words, as they’re far more interested and connected in the music. In a business situation, understand that many of your clients/customers will be more interested in the tone you use and the feeling it invokes more than the message you’re sharing. Think about some of the commercials or promotions or websites you’ve seen. Do you remember every word uttered, or do you remember the setting, the actions, the visuals and all those feelings they invoked in you (good or bad)?

Lesson #2 – It’s not always what you say, but how you say it. An oldie but a goodie. Regardless of how you communicate and what platform or medium you use, it’s important to realize how your message is relayed and what that communicates on its own.

  • It’s not that quick of a process – As Vince mentioned, it can take a musician a long time to craft a song. Sometimes even up to five years to get that lyric and melody just right where he’s comfortable to share it with the world. Communication is the same. If you really want to build a relationship with your customers, you have to know this is a long game that can’t be rushed, with only little, consistent connections along the way. It’s how trust is formed,. It’s the same whether it’s Vince with his songs and trusting they conveys his message or a customer with their interactions with you and trusting you have their best interests at heart.

Lesson #3 – There is no timeline on trust building. No perfect formula to mark when it’s achieved. You must always be working to build the best relationship you can with your customers, understanding daily wins are just moving you towards the greater goal: a successful long-term business with customers who support you.

How, why, when, what, where, and if you communicate is important to understand. Looking at how others for inspiration on how they share their message and connect with their audience can conjure new ideas and reinforce old truths. Never a bad thing.

Thanks to the Vince Vaccaro for inspiring me.

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