During a recent seminar in Toronto, I asked the group if anyone could tell me how they define “marketing.” I received an answer that was unlike any I’ve ever heard before. One of the participants said, “Marketing is making sure all of your employees know your company story and how they add value to the message.”
What a great answer! Remember, “Moments of Truth” account for every moment a customer comes in contact with your business and on the basis of that contact forms an opinion about the quality of your product or service. To my friend’s point, if your employees don’t know your company story or how they add value, they may not be sending the right message. I’ll give you some examples.
A few years ago, when I lived in northeastern Pennsylvania, I approached a work crew building a deck for one of my neighbors. I wanted to ask them for a quote to build a deck on my house. Anyway, I walked on the jobsite and politely asked if I could speak to the project manager. Upon asking, one of the guys walked over to me, put his hands on his hips and said, “What’s the problem?” This guy was totally on the defensive to the point where I thought we were going to have some sort of altercation. How does his reaction influence my perceptions of the company he works for?
This past summer, I was working in my home office and noticed the neighbor across the street was having his driveway sealed. This is something my wife had been asking me to take care of for a few weeks and I wanted to spare her (and me) the need for her to ask me again. So I ran outside and asked one of the guys if he would be willing to give me a price to do my driveway. He was a really nice guy who told me I had to talk to the owner. “Look, my neighbor has the same size driveway as mine,” I said. “I’ll write you a check for whatever he paid and you can do mine today and spare yourself the trip back.”
He told me he’d really like to help me out but I really needed to speak to the owner. “Oh, all right,” I said. “Do you have a business card?”
Would you believe he not only didn’t have a business card, he also didn’t have the telephone number for the owner he told me I needed to speak to? He gave me the owner’s name and told me I could find their number in the Yellow Pages. How does this feed the expectation of superior service? What would happen if something went wrong during the application? Would they know how to handle it or would they ask for a phone book so they could call the owner?
During a trip to Seattle, I had the privilege of doing some sales training for a contractor customer and his sales team. As I walked through their parking lot on my way to the office, one of their yard guys ran up to me and said, “Good morning! How can I help you today?” Now I know this may not seem that special, but think about it. It was early in the morning and this guy was responsible for loading several trucks so the crews could get to work. He had a huge smile on his face and approached me with a level of energy that made me feel like he was there for the sole purpose of helping me. Not only did he stop to say good morning and offer his assistance, he also walked me to the conference room and offered to help me set up. Now let’s suppose I was a homeowner/customer stopping by to make an appointment to have a salesperson look at my roof. In what ways does the person who greeted me feed the perception of service excellence?
Regardless of how you spend (or plan to spend) your marketing dollars, you should enlist the support of your team and make them “ambassadors” of your service by helping them find answers to the following four questions:
1. What does your company stand for?
2. Why do your customers choose your company as opposed to your competition?
3. How do they help to reinforce or enhance your company’s brand promise?
4. What can they do - above and beyond their basic job function - that feeds the expectation that you’ll deliver a significantly better experience than your competition?
Involving every employee in this process is an excellent way to help you protect and enhance your brand message. In addition, you’ll find that your employees will gain a sense of pride for the company and take more ownership in their role and how they add value.