What a Grammy nominated songwriter taught me about customer service

Geoff Welch and Natalie Hemby

Natalie Hemby performing at Storyline 2013
I was introduced to the amazing work of singer/songwriter Natalie Hemby* during the 2010 holiday season when Target used her song “Perfect Gift” in one of their commercials. I was hooked. I immediately went to google to find out who she was and where I could find more of her music. The who was pretty simple but the where proved incredibly problematic.

I was able to find a handful of songs – wonderful songs – streaming on her Myspace page but nothing available for sale anywhere. It seemed so strange that someone with her voice and songwriting chops had nothing on iTunes…or anywhere else for that matter.

Fast-forward 3 frustrating years to a sunny October afternoon in Nashville, Tennessee. I was attending a conference with a friend from Virginia and a cursory look at the conference schedule revealed that there was a songwriter’s showcase at the end of the first day that hadn’t been a part of the online schedule. Three songwriter’s would be performing and somehow, inexplicably, one of them was Natalie Hemby.

I freaked out.

Geoff Welch and Natalie HembyThat night, after a brilliant show, I was able to spend about 5-minutes chatting with her and letting her know that the dearth of her music available for sale had broken my heart. I had been streaming songs like “Morning Person,” “Lighthouse,” and “The Fight,” for years but was dying to find a way to purchase her music.

She laughed, seemingly caught off-guard by songs she forgot were in existence, and then she did something that melted my brain: she asked for my card and promised to send me a bunch of recordings.

I freaked out.

A few weeks later I received a series of emails containing a dozen songs and demos that I absolutely treasure. I’m sure she recognized that sending me those songs was a generous act of kindness, but she may not have realized that she was also giving a master class in customer service.

  • How can you share your best stuff…maybe even the stuff that isn’t available to the general public…with your biggest fans?
  • How might engaging with these folks as humans amplify their love for you and the work you are doing?
  • Are you listening to the people who are dying to tell their friends about you and giving them what they need?

You and I can learn a lot from someone like Natalie. Don’t forget to do something amazing for the people you serve every once in a while. It matters more than you think.

*Natalie has written & co-written songs for some major artists in recent years and her resume will floor you.

Also, this video of her singing “The Bees” is simply amazing:

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