BPA Featured Article

When is Customer Service Like 'Spinal Tap'?

By Rory J. Thompson, Web Editor
May 19, 2015

For those of a certain age, a film from the 80s called “This is Spinal Tap” evokes a lot of memories, both for the humor it provides and the inside jokes it makes about earlier rock bands and their various tribulations. For those unfamiliar with it, the film is a farcical look at an imaginary band and its journey to fame, and eventual flameout.

So what does all of this have to do with customer service? Quite a bit actually, if you can follow the thinking of Craig Antonucci, Chief Customer Officer for North America of BPA Quality, leaders in call center quality experience.

Antonucci, writing under the pen name “The Professor”, recently posted a blog where he identified certain parts of the film and the band’s ‘life’, and pointed out similarities between them and customer service. Here are some of them:

Black Album Cover: In the film, the band released a “less than PG” album cover which the record company quickly changed into a solid black nothingness cover. The lesson, as The Professor points out, is as follows: “Just because you think something is clever doesn’t mean your customers will feel the same way. Test out your ideas on some customers before committing to anything borderline risky and gauge the reaction early.”

Exploding Drummers: The band was notorious for losing drummers to odd deaths including spontaneous combustion. The Professor says the takeaway is that “everyone is replaceable, but in this case, finding a replacement doesn’t mean you will always find someone as good (or less combustible). A good training program is imperative to make sure you can backfill key areas in case of disaster.”

Getting Lost in the Hallways: One of the most famous scenes in the movie is when the band gets lost in the labyrinth of hallways beneath the stage. “Many real bands have attested to the truth behind this scene,” The Professor says. The lesson to be learned is: “Give your team clear directions and constant feedback on how they are doing so they don’t get lost. If they do get lost, go rescue them and get them to the stage!”

For more on The Professor’s thoughts and conclusions, click HERE.

Edited by Dominick Sorrentino


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