Brand Ambassadors

Posted on October 22, 2009

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I’ve commented several times in this blog that the people who interface with your customers own your brand. To recap: Your brand is a combination of the customers’ expectations, nurtured and shaped by your marketing, and the customers’ actual experience. The sales reps, tech support, billing, and customer service people create your customers’ experience, so they own your brand – not the executives, not the board of directors, not a brand manager – in fact, not you marketing team at all. I’ve pointed out that this is the genius behind Apple Stores, and the reason why Microsoft should open its own stores.

Today I want to tell you about another brand – Firestone. Years ago, I got a flat tire and took it to Firestone. The other option was Les Schwab, but I’d had a bad experience with that company and wanted to try someplace new. Firestone fixed my flat for nothing. When I got another, I went back. The people there talked with me about construction sites and my options for dealing with debris-strewn roads. In fact, I went back to our Facilities Manager and reported my two flats. He let me know that many co-workers had similar complaints, and the company was taking action on our behalf against the construction contractors across the street. Problem solved.

Firestone earned my gratitude with the free repairs, but they earned my loyalty by treating me with courtesy, compassion, and respect. Every Firestone shop I’ve walked in has treated me with those same values. Granted, you can get some of that by hiring the right people, but you have to support it with training and corporate culture. As long as Firestone treats us this way, we’re happy to give them our money – for tires, fluids & filters, tune-ups, emissions service, and whatever else they can handle.

Think about services you trust. How did they earn that trust? How can your organization create those experiences for your customer?

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Posted in: Marketing