Cheers! Classic Sitcoms & Customer Service

 I’m going to mention four sitcoms and I want you to close your eyes and try to remember each ones theme song. It doesn’t matter if you remember just the tune or some of the lyrics. Just see how you do:

Cheers
Laverne and Shirley
The Mary Tyler Moore Show
Two and a Half Men

Now, I’m going to bet the farm that you were able to get somewhere with the top 3 but had to either reach or give up on number 4. Why? TV Theme Songs, particularly sitcoms, are a lost art. The song was part of the show and part of the event of tuning in. It told you about what you were going to watch and invited the viewer in like an old or new friend. The songs were timeless. The songs were positive. The songs are now classics and they lasted longer than the quick 20 second “song bites” that are today’s “theme songs”.

These songs play into customer service on two levels:

First, today’s customer service tends to be somewhat forced, fast and mechanical just like modern sitcom themes. You don’t get that feeling of wanting to tune in again next week or rush out to by the 45 rpm (God, I just dated myself there). Every week you were tuning in to be invited into the lives of these characters you loved to visit. How many places of business can you say that about?

Second, the songs had great “customer service” attitude themes. Especially “Cheers”. The entire premise was about an establishment that people wanted to go. The song says it all. “Sometimes you want to go where everybody knows your name/And their always glad you came”. Look at Norm. Every time he entered Cheers the bar let out an enthusiast cry of “NORM!” Norm knew good customer service! What more could he ask for? Tremendous service and a product he was very fond of. Everyone who visited Cheers enjoyed the same attention, even the pompous Frasier Crane.

Look at Laverne and Shirley’s theme. “Give us any chance /We’ll take it. Give us any rule/We’ll break it. We’re going to make our dreams come true.” Golly, sounds like it should be hanging on every CEO’s office with the line “Our Customer Service Mantra” on the plaque somewhere! Every company wants to have a reputation of making their guests customer service “dreams come true”, yes?

How about dear sweet Mary Tyler Moore? The opening line to her theme speaks volumes! “Who can turn the world on with her smile?/Who can take a nothing day, and suddenly make it all seem worthwhile? /Well it’s you girl, and you should know it /With each glance and every little movement you show it.” I always tell my customer service trainees, seminars, etc. the same thing every meeting. “Your smile could change the course of someone’s day and maybe even their life”.

A simple smile or genuine kind tone of voice can alter someone’s bad day and give them hope. Everyone who enters the doors of your establishments has a story. It’s up to us to be listening and be aware that that guest, who is relying on us to get them through a rough day, reaches that positive goal. We don’t know what that guest has been through that day. As far as you know, they may have been thinking about suicide and your employees smile just gave them the spark or glimmer of hope they needed to quell that thought process.

There will never be another M*A*S*H, Happy Days, All in the Family or any of the shows I have mentioned here. Sure today’s sitcoms are funny but they lack a couple of things the old ones had. Their short the killer theme song and they lack heart. Help your customer service staff find its heart. Be the composer of a memorable sincere hook that will want people “to go where everybody knows their name”.

Now if you would excuse me, the Mork and Mindy all day laugh-a-thon is on. Shazbot! Nano-Nano!

This blog was inspired by a Tweet from Tristan Bishop (@knowledgebishop)

1 Comment

  1. Finally had a quiet minute to read this post Ty – as usual, thought provoking, entertaining, and bulls-eye on the topic of customer service. I feel compelled to add that anything that goes to the heart of making your customers feel appreciated, respected and remembered – is equally applicable to your employees. They are inextricably linked – unless you are in a widget business. Thanks for the smiles and the wisdom! Joni

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Who Is Ty Sullivan?

Ty Sullivan is the Director of Marketing and Social Media for one of New York City's top restaurant management groups. He also speaks, teaches and designs Customer Service seminars as well as blogs on the subject.

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