18/10/2013 | Skills
A recent visit to an upmarket car showroom that prides itself (so the marketing blurb goes) on offering ‘VIP customer service’ and ‘inspired performance’ illustrated graphically the mistake many organisations make in developing their brand values without developing the people who deliver them.
Despite cars polished to within an inch of their lives and an expensive looking set in which to display them I was greeted by two ‘sales people’ neither of which would make it above even the lower rungs of the ladder marked ‘professional'. Their basic skills were rudimentary at best, their appearance at odds with their surroundings and one of them in particular was downright irritating, constantly pointing out features I’d already said I wasn’t interested in and interrupting his colleague. Neither had more than the simplest product knowledge; ‘we’re new you see and the showroom has only just opened’, and several of my questions went unanswered.
So what you might argue? The product is good enough and they’re not trying to gain a huge market share. However, this is largely a niche business in automotive terms, out to attract well-heeled, discerning buyers willing to part with around £50k to buy something different from the mainstream. This is reflected in everything they do and they have no doubt spent millions developing the product and associated brand but it still all falls apart at the first potential customer contact. If this isn’t critical in a crowded marketplace packed full of (German) choices then someone is missing a huge trick.
On a similar note, I have found the same to be true in most instances of dealing with courier companies. Huge shiny brand names on enormous trucks displaying their commitment to the customer and the punctuality of their delivery, probably sold as a top quality service by a sales person somewhere dealing at head office level. Unfortunately however, the reality for most recipients of this ‘service’ is surly drivers, usually late and who seem to delight in scribbling unintelligible instructions on the back of a scruffy card stuffed through your letterbox during the 10 seconds you weren’t staring out of the window waiting for them.
Its worth remembering that the values of any brand aren’t yours. They exist only in the minds of other people, whether they buy from you or not, and they are directly influenced by the entire experience, not just the bit you’d like them to remember.
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