(Excerpted with permission from The Celebrity Experience: Insider Secrets to Delivering Red-Carpet Customer Service (Wiley, 2008) by Donna Cutting.)

What Not-So-Recognizable Actor at a movie premier or member of a celebrity’s entourage hasn’t heard those dreaded words: “Are you anybody?” These are the people who become invisible next to the intriguing, glamorous, and charismatic celebrity whom everyone wants to meet, touch, and befriend.

Ethan, an assistant to a very famous, Academy Award-winning movie star (who asked to remain anonymous) told me about the experiences he has had with some of the personnel in the shops on Rodeo Drive in Los Angeles, California. On a typical day, working for his celebrity boss, Ethan is dressed in his blue jeans with a baseball cap and generally looking very casual. “I walk into the store and they won’t even give me the time of day. Then, they find out who I work for and they can’t do enough for me. They’re offering me coffee, a comfortable chair, bringing out samples, and basically fawning all over me.”

Unfortunately, this behavior, which I call the “Are You Anybody?” syndrome, happens in the real world too.

Recently, I asked my office manager, Rachel Street, to call a number of public relations companies to gather information for me. Based upon the information she received, I intended to ask two or three of them to send proposals to handle publicity for this book. One of the owners of the firms that Rachel called refused to speak to her. The owner’s assistant kept going back and forth to her boss, relaying Rachel’s questions and coming back with the reply “She’d be happy to speak to Donna about that.” Needless to say, she’ll never have a chance to speak to me. We crossed her off the list of potentials.

The best service professionals work to delight the person in front of them. Joe Wood, a technician for Hub Plumbing in Boston, MA, told me, “My policy is to treat every potential customer with the same respect, using the same procedure, regardless of who I might perceive them to be. Some of my best customers have been brushed off by other plumbers because of the neighborhood they live in or the condition of their home. You can’t always judge a book by its cover.”

It’s about respect. It’s about being authentic with your customer service. It’s about genuinely liking people and wanting to serve them. What level of respect would you give Tom Hanks or Catherine Zeta Jones if they walked into your place of business right now? I’m not talking about perks or special treatment – just respect. Everyone you serve within the context of your business deserves to receive that same kind of respect. As Marilyn Monroe once said, “Everyone’s a star, and we all deserve to twinkle.”

©2008, Wiley.

Donna Cutting is the author of The Celebrity Experience: Insider Secrets to Delivering Red-Carpet Customer Service and a full-time keynote speaker on the topics of customer experience and employee engagement.

Yesterday, Donna’s book was spotlighted at these blogs:
Betty Lynch / My Country Kitchen will showcase a book excerpt from Donna’s book.
Phil Gerbyshak / Make It Great who will run his own interview with Donna.
Becky Wyatt / Becky Wyatt Online where she will showcase Donna Cutting’s book.

Today, you can also visit these blogs to read more about Donna’s book:
Wendy Piersall / CEO of Sparkplugging
Carol Deckert will be interviewing Donna LIVE at 7pm on her Ladies In Business Today

And the blog tour continues tomorrow at these blogs:
Sandra De Freitas / Tech Coach for Coaches
Dawn Goldberg / Write Well Me
Pam Archer / I Do Weddings

You can purchase your own copy at Amazon