You Are Your Brand

It’s curious to me why some service professionals don’t realize that their behavior can make or break the reputation of their company’s brand.

Driving on vacation recently, we had two interesting customer service experiences – one great and one not so great!

Let’s start with greatness!

Our habitual morning “must do” on the road is to hit our favorite coffee spot – Starbucks. There it was – with its welcoming green logo. We all went in for a fast breakfast, greeted by the manager who was all smiles – just like in this picture. As she handed us our breakfast, her smile waned for a moment – only long enough to apologize for dropping one sandwich. valere-and-company-the-personal-brandig-blog-you-are-the-brandImmediately she said, “I’ve given you two for the price of one and I’m sorry for making you wait.”

Now that’s a nice gesture by itself! Then she really topped it off with a surprise gift of her apron.

I had simply thanked her for great customer service and told her that in my Personal Branding workshops I use Starbucks as an example of a strong brand, whose Baristas make the experience special. Leaving with a smile on my face I said, “You will now be one of my brand stories of surpassing our customer experience.” With that, she took off her apron and handed it to me saying, “Wear this the next time you brag on us.”

Now THAT is above and beyond customer service – it was down right awesome.

Surprisingly, the not so great service was at the hotel where we’ve always stayed driving from Dallas to Colorado. In the past it’s been stellar – until this visit. For whatever reason, it has slipped from being stellar to being sketchy. So much so that when checking out, I felt compelled to let the front desk know of significant room repairs they’d need to make for their next guest.

The desk clerk’s comment was “I’m so sorry. Can we buy you a cup of coffee?”

Hmmm. Wonder what the manager would say? You guessed it, I asked to speak to him. I prefaced my comments with,“I’ve been a customer of your hotel for several years and wanted to share feedback so that you could better accommodate the next guest in our room.” All I got from the manager was defensiveness!

You know the end of this story. That hotel’s brand is dissed in our minds and they lost a good customer! Geez. It takes so little to give good service. All of us in business should realize we ARE the brand of our company. One incident exhibiting the lack of appreciation can undo years of good experiences.