Why Time

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Why even ask?

This morning my lovely girlfriend and I decided to visit Toronto and have a brunch at one of our favourite places. Unfortunately, we were quite disappointed with the quality of the food.  As we made our way to the cash register we were greeted by a friendly gentleman who enthusiastically asked how we enjoyed our experience. My girlfriend offered an automatic response that everything was great. You ever notice how we typically respond with, it's great or I'm good instead of sharing our truth; the food sucked or I feel like crap! What wold happen if we temporarily disabled those filters. I waited a few seconds and piped in with my dissapointment on the quality of the food. To my dismay the cashier did nothing. I offered, "Why ask when you really don't care to hear the answer?" I believe there was a creative opportunity here for this individual to take a lead as a brand ambassador for his organization with the intention of making it right. Or at least demonstrate some form of empathy to us, the customer. Let's give this guy a bit of the benefit of the doubt and assume that his organization simply has not transcended their values pertaining to customer service. This is what I love about brands that adopt a 'make it right motto'. Things are going to go wrong, it's just part of business, we all intellectually know this. The key lies in our choice and the way we wish to respond to the feedback in any given moment. In this particular situation my girlfriend and I had to make assumptions as to how our dissatisfaction would be transferred to a manager. I decided to pursue it further and asked to speak with a manager who just happened to be conveniently standing next to the cashier. When she learned of my disappointment she immediately apologized and offered to remove the charge from our bill. 

In this situation after two verbal expressions of our disappointment the manager did indeed apply a: 'do the right thing motto'. The learning from this experience that I want to share with leaders and organizations is that your front-line people are your greatest brand ambassadors.  They have incredible ability, power and influence at any given moment to turn off the customer or win a customer for a lifetime. Here is the critical thing about branding, it matters very little what you say about your brand and what you believe you stand for. What truly matters is what the external world says about in you and the experience they have with you l. Invest the time in training your front line people to become passionate ambassadors of your brand. Instill your deeper why and manifesto into every touch point. Strive to make every interaction the ultimate opportunity to convey your leadership in your market.