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Zoho CRM Lessons from Joshua Bell’s Subway Serenade


The story of Joshua Bell playing violin in a Washington D.C. metro station is a famous social experiment that took place in 2007. Bell, an internationally acclaimed virtuoso violinist, played incognito for about 45 minutes during morning rush hour. Despite his exceptional skill and a Stradivarius violin, most commuters hurried past without stopping to listen. The experiment was arranged by The Washington Post as part of a social experiment about perception, taste, and the priorities of people.

zoho crm and Joshua Bell's Subway

Context is King:

In the subway, Bell’s brilliance was overlooked. Why? The context wasn’t right. Your CRM needs to do more than just collect data. It must intellectualize it, guiding you to create environments where your interactions are contextually apt. Ask yourself, are you engaging in the right context? Your CRM should be the compass that directs you to make timely pivots, ensuring your business stays relevant and resonates with your audience.

Value is in the Eye of the Beholder:

Bell, playing unrecognized, demonstrates that perception rules. How are you aligning your product’s presentation with what your customers truly value? It’s crucial to discern whether your customers genuinely grasp the value you offer. Your CRM should be a tool not just for pursuing leads but for connecting with those who will genuinely benefit from what you offer. Move away from customers who do not get any real value from you.

Rising Above the Noise

Bell’s music, lost in the hustle of the commute, mirrors how customers might miss your message. Your CRM should help you identify the missteps in your communication. It’s about making your CRM communications not just heard but also felt. Ask this – are your values and benefits clearly visible to your leads and potential customers?

Presentation Makes Perfect:

Bell’s unnoticed performance in the subway teaches us about the importance of presentation. It’s not just what you offer, but how you offer it. Use your CRM to refine how customers interact with and experience your brand. A compelling presentation can turn passive observers into engaged customers.

The Power of the Crowd

Bell’s experience shows the influence of social dynamics. People often follow the crowd. Use your CRM to harness the power of social proof. Customer testimonials and reviews should be a cornerstone of your strategy, guiding new customers and establishing trust.

Accessible Art, Accessible Products:

Bell’s elite music seemed misplaced in a subway, hinting at the need for accessibility. Your products might be top-notch, but are they accessible to all? Use CRM insights to make your offerings more approachable and relatable, breaking down barriers between your product and potential customers.

Pause to appreciate:

This experiment is a call to slow down and engage more deeply. Your CRM should create opportunities for customers to pause and appreciate the value you offer. It’s about fostering deeper connections and meaningful interactions, much like appreciating a beautiful piece of music.


Bell’s subway performance is more than a story; it’s a lesson in customer engagement and perception. These insights from his performance are invaluable for refining your CRM approach and ensuring every interaction is as impactful as each note played by Bell.

Reflect on these lessons. Use them to enhance your CRM strategy. Let’s ensure that every customer interaction is meaningful and impactful, just as every note in Bell’s music should have been heard and appreciated in that subway station.

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