I don’t think anyone is not at least remotely familiar with the soul crushing experience of sitting on hold for 30 minutes and finally being connected with “John from customer service” and being told that he doesn’t have the answer to your question. I mean, that’s kind of his job, right?
And it doesn’t have to be trying to get something fixed, it can just be getting a simple answer to a question about a product or a service or a schedule or a timeline.
We kind of forget that the street team, are in 2003 terms, our Directors of First Impressions. They are far more likely to be approached and asked a question about the programming or promotions of a radio station than anyone else on the staff. So it kind of behooves them to have the answers.
When I do Street School, one of the mantra that I try to ingrain is that the street team should listen to the radio station. And for a couple of reasons. First, who hasn’t been sitting in a station vehicle at a stoplight and looked over at the cars next to us and noticed that there leaning over and adjusting or tweaking or changing the station that’s on their dash. So when they open up their car window and hear that the music that is thumping in the van or station SUV next to them is not the music of that radio station, it kind of sends the message that our brand sucks so badly that even we can’t listen to it. So when they’re out in public, listen to the damn station.
The other reason they should listen to the radio station is that every day there are going to be 10 questions that will be asked of them and those 10 questions will change daily. Are you going to have more tickets to ed Shearhan for giveaway? What was the deal with Crisco this morning and is he going to have to see a chiropractor? Questions like that. Questions that change every day. So if I do approach a radio station DJ (and don’t forget anybody who is out representing us is in the eyes of the listeners a DJ) and they can answer a simple question like “Is the big-money minute going to continue next week?”, then it makes us look pretty stupid.
It would be like me walking into Famous Footwear and asking if Adidas really are bringing back those cool striped shoes from 1977 because damn I looked good back then, and having the person behind the counter go “ I don’t know.” You don’t know? Your whole job, your whole reasonfor existence is to put shoes on my feet. How can you not possibly know?
Which brings up LaFayette, Georgia. LaFayette is in extreme northern Georgia and in the terms of the region ‘hard by the mountains of the region’. Their reason for existence is that in addition to being a fifth ring suburb for Chattanooga, it’s where people go to go spelunking. Which is why I found myself there on a Sunday morning looking for a guide that I had booked online to take me and my daughter caving. This is not a big community. I asked at four different places “Where is the ranger station?” and every time was told “I dunno”. How is that possible? It’s not that big of a town. Can you tell me where Rocky Lane is? “I dunno.” “ Okay, it’s supposed to be right next to Chamberlain Road. Do you know where Chamberlain is?” “I dunno.” (By the way, the caving service said not to trust GPS: it will put you on the other side of Raccoon Mountain.)
I even resorted to asking people outside of grocery stores if maybe they knew how to get to 72 and the crossroads for the ranger station was and was told, “I dunno.” Maybe it was because it was Sunday morning. But it seemed like the community of LaFayette, Georgia didn’t have a clue as to what one of their biggest industries was. I did not leave with a favorable impression and by the way, never did find my guide.
When I have early flights I lay over at one of a dozen hotels near the Minneapolis airport. The Hilton will send to front desk people to spend a day at the airport, watching, learning, observing and basically getting into the head of a traveler. Because travelers are stressed and have a million questions. So when the new employee is behind the desk and gets a call from someone who just landed, their carry-on got crapped on by a service dog, a wheel fell off the stroller, their credit card got slammed at Chili’s, the info desk guy doesn’t speak English and they’re at one of three airport McDonalds and are lost and don’t know where the shuttle is, the Hilton person has a clue as to what they’re going through. “The McDonalds across from Heavenly Donuts? Piece of cake. Walk to the Y, bear left and take the escalator on the far left to level T, go right and you were on American right? That’s carrousel 13….”
And the radio questions don’t always pertain to the station If you’re out at the State Fair, it’s fair game. They’re going to ask you were the closest bathroom is the people. The going to ask you schedule for the grandstand . So your people should become fluent in at these big events. Because people are going to ask them.
Being an effective representative of the radio station is a lot more than wearing a clean T-shirt and having above-average hygiene. It’s about having knowledge of the brand and being able to share it with the listeners and listeners-to-be.