5 Things Pro Wrestling Teach Us About Customer Service

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Ok, ok, so I’m a wrestling fan. So what? Maybe you are too. There are millions of us. And we watch it every week. I’ve been doing that since I was a teenager. I used to take the train from my home in Brooklyn, NY to Madison Square Garden in Manhattan each month to watch the matches in person. It was so much fun. I have many fond memories as a kid watching some of the greats like Bruno Sammartino, Pedro Morales, Andre the Giant, Chief Jay Strongbow, George the Animal Steele, and many more. So, what can pro wrestling teach us about customer service?

Well, plenty.

The Keys to Great Customer Service

We are all well aware that great customer service can only be achieved by:

  • Anticipating the customer’s needs
  • Having a “servant mindset”.
  • Focusing on the customer’s safety
  • Being adaptable to ever-changing conditions
  • Being consistent and maintaining standards

5 Things Pro Wrestling Teach Us About Customer Service

1. Anticipating the Customer’s Needs

Pro wrestlers are showmen at heart. They know what their fans want, and they do their best to give it to them. But they can also tell when the audience is getting bored or tuning out of their performance.

The build-up to a well-promoted match has the anticipation high. Based on their social media posts, fans are expecting a high-flying and action-packed match. They can’t wait and the tickets sell out quickly. Posters are waving and cameras are ready. This should be great, and the wrestlers are pumped and know they can’t let their fans down because their expectations are so high. The fans need to be entertained and the wrestler won’t let them down.

Well, your customers have needs too. And the best service providers can anticipate these unspoken needs and address them before they happen. They can think like the customer, they’re one step ahead of what they will need and what they may want. The old adage of “Put yourself in the customer’s shoes” is appropriate here. Think, “What would I want if I was the customer?”

2. Having a Servant Mindset

Sure, pro wrestlers love their sport, but their love for giving their all for the fans outweighs that. How else can you explain why someone would put themselves through such dangerous flips, twists, and turns just to make their fans happy (think of Jeff Hardy jumping off 18ft high ladders). Day in and day out, the wrestlers try to top yesterday’s match with an even better one today. They are here to not just satisfy but to exceed their fan’s need for entertainment. Each day they prove their servant mindset.

If a wrestler can do all this for their fans, the least a customer service rep can do is make that extra phone call, search one more time, ask one more question, and think of another way to “serve” their customer. And they can do all this without having to somersault off the top rope!

3. Focus On the Customer’s Safety

An experienced pro wrestler has two jobs; put on a great match and do all they can to not hurt their opponent. Sure, they must make it look like they are hurting them, but we all know it’s a show and the show must continue the next day.

Safety is at the forefront of the business, no matter how crazy it looks. (Sure, some organizations have done their best to put on some very dangerous matches, but you can see how those have hurt the company and shortened the careers of their wrestlers.) But guys like Mick Foley, the Undertaker, Triple H, Kenny Omega, and many others wrestled for weeks or more with injuries that mere mortals like us would have taken months off for. But they kept going.

For any business owner, manager, and employee, the safety of their customer must be paramount. We get so focused on “the business” that at times we overlook the slippery floor, pallets leaning up against the wall, boxes stacked in the hallway, and sharp display racks that can injure a customer.

Part of our daily routine must include an inspection of the showroom floor and all surrounding equipment. The safety of our customers must be at least as important as the service we provide.

4. Being Adaptable to the Ever-Changing Conditions

This one should be easy to understand. No matter how scripted a match may be, the ebb and flow of a wrestling match is a work in progress. Each combatant has an idea for a move, and they do their best to make it seem as smooth as possible. But sometimes the wrestler falls or misses the “spot”. Or he can’t “make the tag” and continues to get pummeled in the center of the ring while his partner stretches an arm over the rope. It happens. But they make the best of it.

It’s amazing watching two experienced wrestlers working their craft. Think of a Rick Flair or Bret the Hitman Hart. No matter what happens, they can move from one corner of the ring to another while putting on move after move. Each time changing the plan based on what just happened. It’s an art.

Great customer service pros do the same. They’re not rattled by a mistake or a changed plan. They can adapt. They don’t dwell on what should have happened because they’re more focused on finding ways to make it better. That’s the key, they find a way!

5. Being Consistent and Maintaining Standards

Imagine that you paid good money for a wrestling show and the wrestlers stunk up the place. They were sloppy and put in a lackluster effort. How would you feel? Pretty pissed-off, I bet. Sure, maybe the show the night before was fantastic but today, they’re tired and can’t give it their all. No way, that’s not what professionals do. They somehow summon the energy to make every show the best it can be.

The wrestling superstars understand how important consistency is and that the fans want to see the signature move from a Hulk Hogan or hear the famous catchphrase from Stone Cold Steve Austin. They can’t let them down. They must perform all the moves and say the lines that have made them the fan-favorite. It’s now a standard that must be upheld at every show. And they won’t’ disappoint.

To say the least, great service must be consistent. Standards must be upheld and even surpassed to create a memory that builds a customer for life. But repeat customers have high expectations. They judge today’s actions on the great service of yesterday. Sure, they are understanding but they also have paid good money for your product or service and don’t want a lackluster effort either.

Customer service professionals understand the needs, wants, and expectations of their customers. They work hard each day to uphold not only their company standards but their own high professional and personal standards.

So, here’s my suggestion to rekindle the passion for service that may be lacking at any given time. Turn on the TV or go watch a great wrestling show at your local arena. You’ll be entertained and your service mindset will be recharged. All for the price of 1 ticket. Sounds like a good deal to me.

And that’s the bottom line ‘cause Stone Cold said so!

I just had to add that!

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