For many organisations the brand focus is largely directed externally, for all the right reasons – customers, competitors, the market. The question is, how well do people within the organisation live and deliver the brand, compared to how you want it to be? How well are the people in the organisation connected to the customer and your brand experience ambition? Quite simply, many employees are not as emotionally connected to the internal brand as they are to the products and services they buy in everyday life outside of work. When employees feel great about the brand and the importance of customer, this allows them to play their role in delivering the unique benefits of the organisation’s brand through to the customer experience.
Customer Passion at Zappos
Zappos the US online shoe retailer exemplifies the notion of employees living the brand to drive great customer experiences. Zappos successfully connects very clear, customer centric brand values to employees and this has a direct effect to their customer service quality. An excerpt from the book, Uncommon Service: How to Win by Putting Customers at the Core of Your Business, by Francis Frei and Anne Morriss sets out a very neat case study of Zappos culture and the corresponding effect on staff loyalty and customer service. The key point here is staff empowerment – aligning their values with the company’s values. It’s very compelling, because it empowers people to be who they are.
The Zappos case study is a worthwhile read – it might be seen by some as quite an extreme example of culture, but consider the principles at play; leadership, staff empowerment, meaningful and purpose, authentic brand positioning and values. These principles can be applied to any organization, not just a high energy online retailer.