Customer feedback plays an important role in improving our performance and magic business.
We Filipinos, however, lack the keenness to ask clients (or members of the audience) what they thought of our performance. We dread to hear less than flattering comments. This dread to hear the unburnished truth is written in our Filipino genes. We need Westerners (Americans mostly) to teach us how to confront, absorb, and survive the blows of brutal truth.
For years marketing gurus have been shouting on top of roofs for Filipino entertainers/entrepreneurs to get client feedback as a way to improve their shows. For years, their Gospel of Feedback has fallen on deaf ears.
Filipinos, I believe, don’t have the inner fortitude to hear frank comments about their program and performance, no matter how honest these comments may be. So if you talk Filipino magicians into asking customers for feedback, Filipino magis would rather opt to gauge their performance by “ear.”
The “by-ear performance evaluation system” works something like this: if their performance elicited hearty laughter and wild round of applause, then they must have done an excellent job. On the other hand, if the audience showed little enthusiasm for the most part of the program, then they had stunned them into silence. Either way, to their mind, they have done an excellent job at giving their audience a magical entertainment.
While I’m all into sending the client a written after-show evaluation form for them to fill out, I still have few reservations doing so. For one, I don’t think they will give honest and frank answers—especially if they are Filipino clients. Filipino tradition says, “If you have nothing good to say to somebody, don’t say it.” Since even most educated Filipinos subscribe to this tradition, honest feedback, instead of face-saving, ego-massaging comments, is difficult to get.
Most clients will praise the entertainer if the party, as a whole, was a success—that is, the food was good, the place was luxurious, the kids were happy with their loot bags, etc. A magician has to mess up big time before a client will mope in the corner and curse him silently. This being the usual case, a so-so performance would still get good grades from the client if the other parts of the party went well.
If you want to hear honest, no holds-barred comments, though, let me suggest how to do it easily and without fanfare and ceremony. Do as I do. Find those golden comments in the toilet.
No kidding. Find them in the toilet.
You see, right after my performance, I go straight to the toilet, lock myself up in one of the cubicles to change my outfit into ordinary clothes. While I’m doing such mundane chore, I also do something of great marketing importance: I listen to the customers talk about the show.
Doing this for years has done great things to my ego. It also has given me confidence, especially if I hear comments like, “Oh, he was good, except I know where the six doves came from. He was hiding them all under his belt.”
Try the “Leodini Toilet-After-Show-Evaluation-Gathering System'” one of these days. What you will hear and find out about your show will surprise and tickle you—provided, of course, you did an excellent job of fooling and entertaining your audience.
If you messed up your performance, though, don’t even try this method of feedback-gathering. It may drive you to commit hara-kiri.
Oh, by the way, the only drawback to this evaluation system is that you hear the comments of either the male or female side of the audience only, depending on whose toilet you are admitted to.