Printing Impressions

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TJ Tedesco

View from Mount Olympus

By TJ Tedesco

About TJ

T.J. is team leader of Grow Sales, Inc., a marketing and social media services company operating at the intersection of compelling content, clear vision and quality communication practices. In this blog, fire is a metaphor for print. Hang on, this ride will be weird...

Prometheus crept into Mt. Olympus, stole fire, returned to the lowlands, ran from house to house distributing it, got caught, was chained to a rock, lost his liver to a huge ugly bird and was rescued by Hercules. Leveraging his fame, Prometheus started Fire Enterprises Inc.  (FEI). Since fire was the hottest technology of the time, company success came fast and furious. Two generations later, fire isn't such an easy sale. Now led by Prometheus' grandson Org, FEI's growth is non-existent, competitors are pounding and prices are in the toilet.
 

Sync Marketing Messages and Sales/Customer Service Actions

 
Last time, the Fire Enterprises, Inc. (FEI) tribe discussed the concept of using a messaging document to create compelling communications and help generate positive customer experiences. This week, Marka, Zoot and Numo discuss syncing marketing messages and sales behaviors to better reflect a company’s selling proposition. Remember, fire = print.

“Zoot, what’s wrong with how FEI employees act?” Marka asked, gulping a last bit of grog from her goblet.

“Everything!” Zoot cried. “FEI’s customer service—besides me, of course—has been less than Herculean lately. The surly, abrupt manner of our CSRs and even some of our sales staff has caused customers to take their business elsewhere. I’ve seen it.”

“That one receptionist, Persephone?” Numo added. “Always filing her nails. She treats phone calls like annoying interruptions.”

“Exactly!” Zoot shouted, wrinkling his face like an over ripened olive. “Inside our facility, FEI’s even worse. Our customer waiting area is dirty and disorganized, which inevitably leads clients to wonder about the cleanliness of our shop. When I take customers and prospects on plant tours, the hallways echo with loud talk from our rough-around-the-toga-edges product developers, runners and staffers. Employee behaviors like these could sully our company’s hard-earned brand reputation.”

“Our marketing message is always there,” Marka said. “Not always dirty, grubby or late.”

“Employees should represent the FEI brand by acting warmly and dependably,” Zoot declared. “We must initially train all employees and then remind offenders that their actions and behaviors reflect upon our entire company. This doesn’t just go for the sales staff—everyone at FEI is under the torchlight here.”

“We did have a meeting to explain our USP,” Marka said. “I think that helped our staff members realize they play an important role in the FEI customer experience.”

“That’s not enough,” Zoot said. “Let’s encourage them to identify and fix any small business details that can get in the way of winning and retaining business. Employees will get on board when they understand how everyone’s actions contribute to or take away from the company’s success and their earning potential.”

“If we were a ruffian brand, it might be different,” Marka said. “But that’s more like Pyro. Let him own the concept of, ‘We beat quality into our product...and our people.’ ”

“But that’s not us,” Zoot added. “Our marketing message is clean, crisp and efficient—and our behaviors need to be too.”

“Anyone involved in FEI customer service should embrace a warm, caring, customer-first attitude. When customers call, they’ll be treated to a pleasant, problem solving experience,” Marka said, putting her hands behind her head and audibly relaxed.

“Prometheus excelled at having what my grandfather Custo called a ‘servant’s heart.’” Zoot observed. “This approach contributed to FEI’s early business success and cemented many customer relationships during those critical early days. The bottom line? We can never forget the importance of smart, dependable customer service.”

“Good company messaging is not only written, it’s spoken,” Marka agreed smiling. “Our USP should be embodied in the attitudes and actions of all our employees. And there’s nothing in our USP about boredom, coarseness or indifference.”

“Amen!” Numo cried.

“I’m glad you’re finally thinking like a top-line driven exec, Numo,” Marka said with a wink.

“Never!” Numo declared, shifting his coal black eyes away from Marka’s warm gaze. “Profit percentage is everything!”

Today’s FIRE! Point:
Employee behavior should match your company’s brand message. Depending on what your brand stands for, this could mean acting friendly, providing speedy service, solving tough problems or a number of other behaviors that are valuable to customers.

Initially, decide on what your brand stands for and then train all team members how to best represent your company’s brand when they interact with customers or amongst each other. Then, remind offenders that their actions and behaviors reflect upon your entire company. Encourage employees to identify and fix any small business details that can get in the way of winning and retaining business. Employees will get on board when they understand how everyone’s actions contribute to or take away from the company’s success and their earning potential.

FIRE! in Action

Core values, everywhere

Besides shoes, Zappos.com sells a “customer-first” mentality. Every page of its website sends the message that they value timely, diligent service—from shopping to delivery.

Next Week: The FEI tribe revisits the fundamental elements of branding.

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