The Art of MAGIC®
by Tom Larkin
With a nod to the new Forever Stamp at the US Post Office
You may have noticed The U.S. Postal Service’s set of First Class Forever stamps aptly titled “The Art of Magic.” I could not be happier. I still enjoy sending snail mail!
These clever works of art got me thinking about the relationship between “magic,” the art of illusion, and “M.A.G.I.C., the art of magical service.
On the surface, they are worlds apart, a study in opposites, so much so that prospects considering how to transform their service culture will often ask: “Is it really magic?” Or, “What’s the ‘magic’ in M.A.G.I.C.?” That’s a great question. As practitioners of the five M.A.G.I.C. steps, we know that “the magic” in our approach includes:
Vision-driven practices coupled with best practices
A service mindset
A company standard balancing caring-respect with task-accountability
Training that engages employees in their development and “the why” behind the company standard
Systemic and ongoing service-culture recognition and reinforcement
The Experience of MAGIC
Specifics aside, a great service experience absolutely feels "magical” to a customer, just as it does to a person watching a magician pull a rabbit out of a hat. Our customers don’t typically “look behind the curtain” to try to understand what we did to create their great experience or resolve their vexing problem; they only know that we pulled the ‘yes I’ll do that for you’ rabbit out of thin air. They will even thank us at the end of the interaction to express their pleasure with us. And, if they decide to post a positive comment on social media – WOW there’s more magic!
Service providers who embrace MAGIC – the mindset and skills - bring something valuable to a world dominated by impersonal digital transactions and lackluster, indifferent human interactions. You may not have thought of your team members as magicians, but in a way, they are. They understand and act on the awareness that every interaction has a life of its own, and, that every life has some magic in it.
Five ways to bring out the MAGIC® in your skills
Here are five ways that we create a magical experience when we sharpen our skills based on the M.A.G.I.C. approach:
– A stage magician is part of a production aimed at surprising and confounding the audience. A service magician is part of a production committed to making a great impression, driving surprisingly positive satisfaction, and pursuing resolution that exceed expectations. Think of yourself as a producer of a production.
– A stage magician describes the items you are looking at and emphasizes how ‘normal’ they are. A service magician taps into their MAGIC skillset to make the ordinary request a pleasure to respond to. Despite the most ordinary of requests, a service magician regards it as an opportunity to contribute respect and leave the customer with a great impression. In what ways can you bring the extraordinary to the most ordinary of requests?
– A stage magician creates the illusion of physical levitation. A service magician creates emotional levitation by achieving a shift in the customer’s mood and feelings. Service providers with strong empathic skills (very magical by the way) can create the most impactful experience in someone’s day. They create the kind of experience that gets shared at the customer’s dinner table that night.
– Now you see the problem, the angst, the worry, and now you don’t. But where did it go? Well, it hardly matters when the problem and worry vanish! The service magician does a vanishing act that matters in a big way when they use their compassion and competence to make the issue “vanish.”
– Of course, the stage magician who transforms a newspaper into a vase of flowers is a master at their craft. And it’s the service magician, by virtue of their MAGIC skills and attitude, that transforms the ordinary inquiry into a transformational customer mood shift. These change moments leave both parties satisfied with a quality interaction.
MAGIC servicers see the magic opportunities in their work. Because they create the real and lasting magic in our day-to-day lives, they are much more valuable than we realize.
Tom Larkin is president, CEO and co-owner of Communico Ltd. and has more than thirty years of experience as a consultant, coach, facilitator and business owner. He is the co-author of How to Talk to Customers: Create a Great Impression Every Time with MAGIC® and is also a part-time professor at Fairfield University.