Monday, April 2, 2018

Want Your Brand to Soar Above the Competition? Learn from 6 Amazing #BrandExperiences

Brand experiences can be good, and they can be bad. When they're good, customers are happy and go on with their lives. But when they're bad, the upset customer tells anyone who will listen including family members, friends, co-workers, and anyone in the individual's social media circles. And while Bill Gates has been quoted as saying, "Your most unhappy customers are your greatest source of learning," some brands don't take advantage of the opportunity. Here are six amazing brand experiences including some take-away lessons for all brands.

[1] PLACE EMPHASIS ON CORPORATE CULTURE
A man went to a hospital in Texas because he wanted to meet a famous heart surgeon. As the man left the hospital, he met an elderly janitor who was mopping the floor. The man asked, “What do you do here at the hospital?” The elderly man replied, “Dr. DeBakey and I save lives together.” The elderly man explained that Dr. DeBakey had told all employees that hospital infections kill more patients than disease, so the elderly janitor was doing his part to keep the hospital clean.

TAKE-AWAY: 

Have all the employees in your company jumped on the bandwagon to support each other and work toward the same goal?

My thanks to Mark Herbert (@NewParadigmer on Twitter) for sharing this story in his book, Managing Whole People, One Man's Journey.

[2] SHOW GRATITUDE FOR EMPLOYEES
In 1989, Gary Comer, the founder of Lands’ End, built a state-of-the-art gym for his employees. At the pool’s unveiling and once all employees had assembled near the pool, he asked them to look at the tiled wall near the pool, where the names of all employees had been added to the wall.

TAKE-AWAY: 

How many companies show their gratitude for their employees in such a visible manner? Moreover, how many companies truly realize that, in order to create satisfied customers, they must FIRST create satisfied employees?

My thanks to Jeanne Bliss (@JeanneBliss on Twitter) for sharing this story in her book, I Love You More Than My Dog – Five Decisions That Drive Extreme Customer Loyalty in Good Times and Bad.

[3] UNDERSTAND THAT EMPLOYEE ONBOARDING STARTS EARLIER THAN YOU THINK
When your brand is Singapore Airlines, a cup of tea is much, much more than just a cup of tea during the interview process. A group of potential hires was led into a conference room and asked to wait. Hiring managers watched from an adjoining room through one-way glass. In the conference room, chairs were placed against the walls, but there was a table in the middle of the room with a tea pot and cups. The hiring managers wanted to see who would start conversations and serve tea to others, because those were the people who demonstrated a commitment to service that Singapore Airlines expects of its employees.

TAKE-AWAY: 

When you place an advertisement for an open position, you begin the onboarding process. Applicants should realize that the process begins immediately. Employers and/or people within the personnel department should move forward through the process with respect for all applicants. That said, some businesses, based on their industries, will want to see how applicants act in appropriate scenarios.

My thanks to Marilyn Suttle and Lori Jo Vest (@MarilynSuttle and @LoriJoVest on Twitter) for sharing this story in their book, Who's Your Gladys, How to Turn Even the Most Difficult Customer Into Your Biggest Fan.

[4] KNOW YOUR CUSTOMERS BETTER THAN YOUR PRODUCTS OR SERVICES
In 1975, a customer walked into an Alaskan Nordstrom outpost and asked to return a set of worn-down tires. Even though Nordstrom did not sell the man the tires – and did not sell tires at all – Nordstrom honored the request. This story has become the standard for Nordstrom customer service.

TAKE-AWAY:
Consider the tire customer: Was he a regular customer at Nordstrom? How often did he shop there? How much did he spend? Was he a brand loyal Nordstrom shopper? Should Nordstrom have taken back the tires? And now, for your business, how well do you know your customers?

My thanks to Peter Fader (@faderp on Twitter) for sharing this story in his book, Customer Centricity, Focus on the Right Customers for Strategic Advantage.

[5] STAND APART FROM THE COMPETITION - FAR APART

When a brand loyal customer used Twitter and joked that he was on an airplane and would love to eat a steak, he was surprised beyond belief when he arrived at his destination. He was met by a man in a tuxedo holding a Morton's bag with a full dinner including a 24-ounce Porterhouse steak, an order of shrimp, a side of potatoes, one of Morton's famous rolls of bread, napkins, and silverware.

TAKE-AWAY: 

While Peter Shankman thinks his large Twitter following was not the reason for this unbelievable story, the fact that he was a brand loyal customer was significant. How in tune is your brand with your customers’ behaviors? Do they use social media to engage with your brand? Do you use social media to engage with your customers? Think outside the box to stand apart from your competition, and you may end up far apart.

My thanks to Peter Shankman (@petershankman on Twitter) for sharing this story. Read the entire story (and it’s well worth it) at Peter's website at https://www.shankman.com/the-greatest-customer-service-story-ever-told-starring-mortons-steakhouse/.

[6] THINK OUTSIDE THE BOX
Since everyone experiences delays when traveling, there is no surprise that most people dislike flying. Along the same train of thought, most people probably don't think of airlines when asked to name their favorite brand. But here's a story that may change your mind. Recently, a Southwest Airlines flight attendant made a passenger's dream come true. The passenger had Down Syndrome, and when deplaning, the young girl passenger said it was her lifelong dream to be a flight attendant. The flight attendant made some phone calls within Southwest to get the passenger on another flight and have her work alongside her as an "assistant flight attendant," and two weeks later, on Friday, August 31, 2018, the two flew together on a flight from Sacramento to Seattle. The assistant flight attendant wore a red uniform and helped to greet passengers and also got to do a few other fun things - she even earned flight attendant wings for her service.

TAKE-AWAY:
To quote Bill Murphy of Inc magazine, "There's no revenue involved here for Southwest Airlines. There's nothing that will make investors swoon. There's no way that doing something like this for a passenger is in the flight attendant's job description. But at the same time, after hearing this story, how can you not feel a little bit better about Southwest Airlines? Even if you've never flown them? Or even if you've had a bad experience yourself on the airline sometime." Will you forget this story? I know I won't.

My thanks to Bill Murphy of Inc magazine for sharing this inspiring story. @BillMurphyJr on Twitter. (https://www.inc.com/bill-murphy-jr/southwest-airlines-flight-attendant-act-kindness-southwest-passenger-viral-good-news.html)


These six brand experiences have remained with me over the years. What are your most memorable brand experiences? I invite you to chime in and share.

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