That feeling of being abandoned

Have you ever felt abandoned? Distressing, isn't it? It happened to me twice, in different locations and settings, but the feeling was the same.

The first incident happened on June 23, at Lincoln Financial Field, in Philadelphia. I was attending the Kenny Chesney "Flip Flop Summer Tour." The funny thing is that I didn't think I was even going to be able to attend, because when tickets went on sale, back in March, they sold out in something like 30 minutes. However, the day before, I was listening to WXTU 92.5 FM, and the announcer said that some production set changes opened up some extra seats. Well, I went to Ticketmaster and was successful.

The second to last act was the duo of Brooks & Dunn. They did some of their well known pieces, such as "Neon Moon," "My Maria" and others. After doing several other numbers, one of them (Kix Brooks, I think) said something like "See you" and then the two of them left the stage.

At that point I was confused, and frankly a little annoyed. Their signature song, "Only in America," is the one they traditionally use to end their appearance. But, this time, apparently, they were leaving without that last song. I started to voice my annoyance to the people around me, when all of a sudden--of course--they returned and continued the concert.

And yes, they DID end with "Only in America." The best part, by the way, was their changing of the "bridge," that is a special transitional section of music and lyrics that's not a stanza and not the refrain. The lyrics for the bridge in their "regular" version of the song are

She came out here to be an actress,

He was a singer in a band

They just might go back to Oklahoma

And talk about the stars they could have been.

However, in this performance, the lyrics instead were

Some men they dream of fame and fortune

Some work hard to pay the rent

Some give their lives to save our freedom

Heroes we never should forget.

As they were singing this special bridge, who should come on stage but several service people, in full dress (I don't know what the term the other services use, but there was at least one Marine in dress blues). The crowd, already standing and cheering to this point, cheered and screamed even LOUDER at this sight.

The second incident was far less emotional, but almost as annoying. I was waiting at a customer service desk at Genuardi's (a supermarket chain in Pennsylvania and vicinity, part of Safeway). The woman in front of me was taking forever to arrange for rental of rug cleaning equipment, and the Genuardi's person was patiently but slowly writing things down. They finally finish their paperwork, the woman leaves and i step to the window, expecting service. But at that moment, the Genuardi's person leaves the area for the front of the store, returning a few minutes later. I did take care of business, but was annoyed by the delay.

Two incidents, same reaction. How could they (Brooks & Dunn and the Genuardi's person) reduced the chances of negative reaction? All they had to say was, "Hold on" or "Wait, we'll be right back." Doing so would help set and manage the expectations of the audience and of the customer, respectively.

Think about these incidents when you deal face to face with customers. If you can't get to them right away, say so. Be up-front about it. If you recognize them, it goes a long way toward reducing the chances of dissatisfaction.

I can't wait to see Phil Vassar on September 15 and Craig Morgan on October 7.

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