To be a genius, hire a genius.

Microsoft is pulling out the stops in trying to slow their loss of market share to Apple.

In addition to having Seinfeld star in some TV spots, this article refers to their challenge of one of Apple’s more genius-like moves, the addition of the Genius Bar.

The effort to make Windows seem more
user-friendly also includes planting “Windows gurus” to help users in
Best Buy and Circuit City stores.  They could help battle the loyalty boost Apple
gets from “Genius Bars” in its stores, Gillen says. “The Apple stores
have been pretty successful as a knowledge center that users can get
information from. Microsoft has had nothing on the consumer side.”

Computers are tricky to understand.  Tricky to operate.  And it’s even trickier to get someone to help you through your problem.

You know what else is tricky to understand?  New York City.  And the theater.  It would help to have some geniuses floating around inside Broadway theaters, wouldn’t it?

We’ve talked about theater concierges before (and The League’s “At Your Service” service is off and running).

But who else could provide some service with a smile to your audiences?

Your ushers.

They meet.  They greet.  They seat.

Ushers are one of the few staff members that interact with customers moments before and after your show.  It’s important that they have genius-like skills about your show, your city, and your other shows that they can recommend.

There are a few really nice ushers in Broadway theaters that obviously love the theater and aren’t showing people to their seats just because it’s a union job with benefits.

There are also a few crabby ones that couldn’t be worse customer service reps.

Union or not, the crabs need to go, so the next time you run into one, see the house manager at the theater and file a complaint.

There are thousands of theater-loving students, actors, and more who would love to work in a theater and get health insurance.

And it doesn’t take a genius to know that these geniuses would improve the audience’s experience.

Even Microsoft has figured it out.

  • Wild Bird says:

    Ooh…you’ve struck a nerve with me on this one. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been frustrated by crabby (even rude!) ushers at the theatre. But I’ll go one further. Has anyone ever been treated to scalding hot water in a Broadway theatre restroom in winter? If you haven’t then you haven’t been washing your hands and “EWWW!”. It’s positively dangerous. I’m a big believer in the theatre experience starting from the moment you pull up to the curb (or sooner if you can swing it) and this lack of Quality Control on the part of the theatres is really shameful. At a time when the Average Jane or Joe can go see things blow up for $12 bucks AND sit in a comfortable, roomy reclining chair for two hours, the theatre owners should really be putting that extra upcharge to good use. Okay…I’m getting off the pulpit now.

  • NineDaves says:

    funny that you said this because i recently had a terrible experience with an usher. i’m all for customer service – worked in retail for years and know how to play the polite/calm/friendly role. but when i went to see [title of show], i met an usher who was not having it. she was rude and nasty, screaming at the top of her lungs at me when i was on my phone… in the lobby… twenty minutes before curtain. i wrote a letter of complaint and sent it to the house manager, but i’ve yet to hear anything back. i tell everyone to see [title of show], just not to sit in the balcony! hey – maybe that’s why they put her up there? to get people to pony up for orchestra seats?
    regardless, customer service is important. but i also think it extends to the actors themselves. after every show i see, i wait for the actors to thank them. they’ve given me a great show, and i want to let them know how much i appreciate that. and some actors have been downright rude. i understand it’s not technically part of the job. you don’t HAVE to do it. but coming outside, posing for pictures, signing autohraphs – that goes a long way. it gives a good rep for the show and a good rep for your career.
    being nice gets you far in life. simple as that.

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