I admit that despite my advancing age, I still like to hit clubs to see bands. A group of my friends and I go see Canadian power pop gods Sloan, every year at at least one point on their U.S. tours. Tuesday and Wednesday, I caught back-to-back shows in San Francisco and Los Angeles. Fantastic!

Why should you care? Because there's a great lesson in customer service/CRM here.

Nobody really expects an internationally successful band, especially one that's been around 20 years, to hang out after the show and talk to fans. Yet after most shows, that's exactly what Sloan does. And their willingness to interact with the people who've made their business possible isn't just about showmanship. It builds even more loyalty among current fans, and gives first-timers an additional connection to the franchise. And it's not just the band mates. Every one associated with the group from the merchandising guy to the guitar tech is pleasant, professional and engaging with audience members. Accessibility is clearly a value for the Sloan team. And it works.

But last night was really special. When I arrived, the "audience engagement guru" (my title), Jay Coyle, thanked me for making it to the show and even asked how my business trip was. Wow. Jay's company, Music Geek Management and Sloan have done a great job engaging its fan base via social media (Twitter, website, YouTube), including rewarding loyal followers with secret codes for at-show merch, etc. (Props to their US label, YepRock, based in nearby Haw River, N.C.).

Then, afterwards, bass player Chris Murphy joked with me a bit about being crazy to see back-to-back shows on school nights, adding, "That's the kind of crazy I can get behind." (That's us at the SF show there on the right). Then, turning serious, added, "Really, though, it's so great you support us so much. I really appreciate it and it's why we're still here." I said something like, "No, thank you." but I was levitating, so I'm not exactly sure. (Yes, I still act like a 13-year-old school girl sometimes). On the way to the door, I passed the lead guitarist, Patrick Pentland, and quickly leaned in with a "great set". He turned, looked me in the eye and said, "Thanks. I saw you singing along."

Maybe you think this is simple fandemonium on my part, but that kind of thing matters. But I promise that even 13-year-old me knows that it's good business do business like Sloan:

  • Engage your customers across many channels.
  • Reward loyal followers/fans.
  • Thank them for their business.
  • Give them your all (the shows were outstanding.
  • Spend as much time as possible with your customers.

So even if your business doesn't involve t-shirts, records and a tour bus, you can learn a lot from Sloan -- and get some great power pop in the bargain. Let's get started.