Perhaps you have heard the story of the rock stars who wanted a bowl of M & M’s in their dressing room – and requested that all the brown ones be removed. One might call this request… extreme, difficult or maybe even eccentric.  And, is the story even true?


Yes, it turns out the story is true.  The band was Van Halen, and the request was anything but extreme, difficult or eccentric.


Many performers’ contracts include a rider, which indicates all of the specific requests to ensure the show will go well.  A rider can include dozens, if not hundreds of requests.  Van Halen put the “no brown M & M’s” request in to see if the people working the show were paying attention to the details.  The thought was that if they didn’t take out the brown M & M’s, what else did they miss?  They weren’t being difficult.  They had created a system that checked (and hopefully confirmed) that the crews they worked with in each city were paying close attention to details.  They wanted their fans to experience a perfect show.


LESSON: Create a system that checks and confirms that employees and vendors are managing the details.  Paying attention to the details can help ensure a flawless customer experience.


Shep Hyken, CSP, CPAE is the Chief Amazement Officer of Shepard Presentations.  As a professional speaker and author, Shep helps companies develop loyal relationships with their customers and employees.  For more information on Shep’s speaking programs and books, please contact (314) 692-2200. Email:  Web: For information on customer service training, go to

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