Customer experience lessons I learned from Hamilton

Editor's Note: Heather Lee is a customer experience sage at Root Inc., an Advantage thought leader partner. Root helps companies connect people and culture to strategy.


I finally saw Hamilton in New York City after trying for over a year to get tickets. It was, as billed, simply amazing. And if you read my blog post, Customer Experience Advice from Vanilla Ice?, you already know music speaks to my soul.

Since seeing the Broadway hit in early January, I’ve read articles, listened to the music, and/or watched videos of and about the show nearly every day. The ones that have been most interesting to me are those in which Lin-Manuel Miranda explains how the show came to be and how he engaged a broader group of people in a common history lesson that people know, but don’t have a lot of passion about.

Can your customers be themselves?

There’s a principle I use in my customer experience work that Hamilton nails: Create an experience where the target customers can see themselves as a part of the community, a community where they fit in and see people who are like them (in thought, in actions, or in the stand they want to take). Let me explain…

Understanding your audience

When Miranda created Hamilton, he was clear that his target audience was diverse in race, ethnicity, socio-economic status, and age, and included people with no interest in musicals or history. He also knew he wanted to use forms of music that authentically speak to him and this target audience. Standard Broadway show tunes weren’t going to cut it. Traditional casting was out. He says:

“The reason Hamilton works is because there is no distance between that story that happened 200-some-odd years ago and now, because it looks like America now…. The reason you can’t get a ticket, is because everyone’s responding to it... Everyone is seeing a bit of themselves in it.” (

The result? People who have never seen a Broadway show are lining up for the ticket lottery. People are spending crazy amounts of money to be part of the movement. People are singing the songs, loud and proud, learning to rap like Lafayette and Hercules Mulligan. Miranda did what I strive to help my clients achieve – he created a community that people want to be a part of.

3 questions to improve your customer experience

So if you want to improve the experience you’re delivering, apply the strategies behind Hamilton by asking yourself the three questions below. These questions will help you understand how well you’re creating an experience that ensures your customers feel like they fit in and that you know and hear them – elements that must be part of your customer experience if you want to attract loyal and long-lasting customers. If you answer “no” to any of these questions, you have work to do. (The Schuyler sisters’ singing of “Work!” is all I hear as I type that last sentence.)

  1. Do your target customers see people who look, act, and think like them in your stores and online?
  2. Does your brand voice sound like the customers’ voice? Do you even know what their voice sounds like?
  3. Are your leadership team and board of directors listening to the voice of the customers and making decisions based on that? Does either group have a member who is also your target customer or closely related to one? For example, if your target audience is Millennials, do you have a Millennial or a parent of a one on your board?

Questions on creating a customer community?

I’d love to hear additional questions you think are critical to creating an experience where your target customers fit in and feel like they’re a part of the community you create. And of course, tell me your favorite Hamilton song!


Source: The Customer Experience Lessons I Learned from Hamilton | Root Inc.


At top: Advantage Editor Julie Wolpers snapped this photo of the entrance to Hamilton at the Richard Rodgers Theatre during a visit to New York last September. The other photo shows the theatre's backstage door. No, she didn't have tickets. (But she did get to see Adele!)

Also from Root: How healthy is your strategy?

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Heather Lee

Managing Director and Customer Experience Sage at Root Inc.
Heather is a customer experience sage, as guru was taken and her colleagues said sage fit better with her spirit anyway. She is passionate about empowering front line teams to bring their authentic selves to the brand they represent, all with the goal of delivering a stand out customer experience. A world-class customer herself, you can find her shopping and eating her way around the globe.

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