If you want your staff to act in line with your brands promise, you’ll need to invest in them. They will only act along the lines of your brand if they are understanding why it’s important and if they feel empowered and motivated to do so.
STAFF UNDERSTANDS WHY & HOW This means every single person in the organization needs to understand why your brand is important, what it stands for, how you want to make every customer think and feel. If they don’t know which result you want to achieve for every customer, and how their role contributes, how can they contribute to the desired experience?
STAFF IS EMPOWERED If your staff doesn’t have the systems or skills to perform in line with the your promise it won’t work. Even the best of your customer service staff can’t deliver top notch service if they are structurally understaffed. Employees must possess the skills necessary to deliver on the brand promise. This is both a matter of training and selection at the gate. Where employees lack skills, you will have to train them. It is obviously the most efficient to select employees with the right mind and skill-set at the outset.
- At Starbucks each employee will receive training in remembering names of customers and their preferences. This contributes to the Starbucks brand-customer experience as ‘a second living room’, a place where people know you, just like at home.
- Apple deliberately recruits nice, smart people who have a passion for service and enthusiasm for their product or service. Under the motto that knowledge can be brushed up, but no personality.
- South west recruits highly selectively as well. “What we are looking for first is a sense of humour. Then we are looking for people who have to excel to satisfy themselves and work well in a collegial environment. We can train people to do whatever they have to. We hire attitudes, ” – says co -founder Herb Kelleher .
Is your organization in sync, is it geared to fulfil our brand promise? Are our organizational structure, processes and systems helping to take the brand forward?
STAFF IS MOTIVATED Of course you have to set the incentives right. In Bombay where I live part of the year, bus drivers drive like lunatics. Not necessarily because they are crazy, but because they financially get rewarded (or punished) for the number of times they drive a certain route within an hour – not for careful driving.
Human motivation is a matter of ‘punishment’ or ‘reward’.”Brand-worthy behaviour” should be part of the yearly assessment process and performance interviews. Employees who go the extra mile to live-up to your brands promise should be rewarded. And there should be consequences for negligence as well.
Once I met an organization that wanted to improve their service-experience. Market research showed that ‘personal attention’ was the main driver of customer satisfaction. Meanwhile, employees were not judged on the amount and quality of attention they provided, but on the number of clients they finished in a day!e
Your employees will become more motivated if you involve them in the development and management of your brand. For instance, by discussing the following questions with them in a workshop:
- What can we as an organization do differently to enhance the desired experience among our customers? How can we make them see us as more (- fill in your brand essence-)?
- What adaptation would that require for our processes, skills, products, systems, skills, etc?
- What could you as individual employee do differently? What training or tools would you need?
If you want to build a ship, then call no men together to wood, collect, divide the work and give orders. Instead, make them long for the vast endless sea | Antoine de Saint – Exupéry
Needless to say the management has an important role in setting the right example. Nothing more demotivating than managers who don’t walk the talk and practice what they preach….
The core question that structurally should be on the agenda at all levels of management: where is the customer experience is in line with our brand essence (and the expectation that we generate implicit and explicit), and where are areas for improvement? What are we going to do about it tomorrow?
Example INTERPOLIS insurance company
Much to the annoyance of consumers, insurance companies confuse their clients with lots of incomprehensible rules and regulations. Therefore the Dutch insurance brand ‘Interpolis’ decided to make a change for the better. They made the brand promise of ‘clarity’ leading for everything they do. Products and procedures were simplified; technical language and bureaucracy were abolished. ‘Crystal clear’ became the tagline and theme for all brand communication.
Result: a huge increase in brand preference and loyalty. Improving clarity still is the concept that drives the organisation (and: consumer preference on a product-exceeding level!). Employees are encouraged to signal ‘unclear ‘ behaviours or processes and come with a solution. If the consumer doesn’t experience a contact with the brand as clear, something has to be changed. To support the delivery of the brand promise; the values ‘openness’ and ‘decisiveness’ are central/ focal in the organizational culture. Openness is leading for the way employees interact with each other, as well as for the way they treat customers. The whole organization is geared towards delivering the desired customer experience: clarity that stands out from all competitors.