There is nothing more powerful than employees’ passion and initiative to make customers happy to spark long-lasting word of mouth about your brand.
Your company is truly only as great as the people who embody the mission of your organization, those who go above and beyond to see the company succeed and to make your customers happy. The brands that understand this fundamental principle empower their employees. The brands that understand this simple truth trust their employees to be the best spokespeople, the voice of the brand, they can be. Brands like that don’t need huge marketing budget because they have an army of employees and customers telling their story, thus sparking the word of mouth that is way more powerful than any ad.
In my lifetime I’ve encountered very few companies that were not only able to grab my attention, but earn my loyalty and advocacy year after year.
It truly is about little things. Like when you and your child are tugging a drink back and forth, almost spilling it, while having lunch at Red Robin and the lovely waitress (thanks, Chalamar!) brings you an extra cup (child-proof no less) so that you could split the drink (again, without even being asked). I have always been a fan of Red Robin, but caring touches, such as Chalamar’s attention to details and her passion for making customers feel like they are the only ones at the restaurant, not only contributes to customer satisfaction, but sparks word of mouth. Case in point: not only you are reading about these brands in my post, but I also mention them in my numerous keynotes, interviews, and offline conversations.
The best experiences the companies can empower are also truly authentic and sincere. A while back I wrote about Soma Intimates and their amazing focus on serving the “regular” customers and not just trying to please influencers. Responding to a hand-written letter of one of their customers (my mother-in-law), they scouted their stores across the country to find the bra that she loved and that was discontinued in order to send her seven of the last of the remaining bras in stock (with a lovely hand-written note enclosed from the Jersey Shore store manager Sue Peters). Their unbelievably caring act has touched many hearts of the women in the community and sparked a lot of conversations.
Notice something in common in every one of these stories? There is always a hero, an employee that cares deeply about delivering the best experience to others and representing your brand as your brand should be represented. As leaders, we should all realize that our companies, as well as our reputations, are only as good as the people we employ. Joes, Chalamars, and Sues of the world should be as much of a focus for us as our customers are. Success is a team sport. It requires dedication, inspiration, and passion; and one can never get that without cultivating the culture of trust, mutual respect, and empowerment.
Ekaterina Walter, Contributor
I write about leadership, business and social innovation, marketing