Read an Excerpt
Outbehave Your Competition to Create Customers for Life
By GREGG LEDERMAN
Evolve Publishing, Inc.Copyright © 2013 Gregg Lederman
All rights reserved.
What to Expect from Your Journey Through ugh ENGAGED!
Imagine ... your entire workforce shares a common mindset—a way of thinking. This mindset is driven by deeply held values and beliefs that everyone in your company holds to be true. It's because of this mindset that people in your company tend to act a certain way. They interact with each other and customers in ways that lead to an experience—a truly branded experience your company has become known for.
Imagine everyone in your company is aligned and ENGAGED around the behaviors that are necessary to make that experience come to life. These behaviors are clearly documented, they're considered nonnegotiable, and they're performed consistently by employees in ways that lead to happy customers who are more than just loyal. Your customers are delighted, they love doing business with your company, and they are ENGAGED!
Your workforce is outbehaving the competition. They simply "behave" better than your competitors'.
This is not by chance. It is by design.
Imagine that your company has taken the powerful mindset (and nonnegotiable behaviors) and fully integrated them into the processes and systems for hiring new employees, ensuring they are truly indoctrinated into your company's way of thinking—its way of being.
Imagine these same behaviors are incorporated into job profiles to set clear and achievable expectations.
Imagine every employee performance review is not only based on the technical skills and tasks but also on the natural tendencies and abilities to perform the very experience your customers want most.
Imagine employee recognition is pervasive throughout your company. A daily dose of capturing and sharing examples of the mindset and nonnegotiable behaviors in action helps fuel the replication of the branded experience. Your branded experience is visible every day. Employees love to deliver it. Customers love to receive it.
Imagine customers have contributed to making you great by sharing their perspective on the experience of doing business with your company. Their feedback not only helps you improve, it is also regularly shared with the workforce to help them see the terrific impact they have on customers' lives.
Last, imagine every manager in your company truly understands that it's their job to manage the experience. Every manager is trained on the essential habits that make them more trusted leaders because they remind others about the importance of performing the behaviors and delivering your company experience. Your managers are expert at making the experience part of the conversation at work every day. They make decisions using your company mindset. They hold difficult, yet necessary, conversations and use the experience as their guide. And they are constantly capturing and sharing examples of the experience in action to help others learn, become inspired by, and replicate over and over again.
Your workforce is ... highly ENGAGED. You know it because you've gone beyond simply announcing who you are and what you want to be known for. You haven't just told people what your culture is and tried to get them to do it. Rather, you've inspired them to search deep into who they are and why they should want to live your company's brand every day!
Every company, no matter what the industry or economic environment, can ENGAGE its workforce to deliver a consistently great customer experience. An experience that will in turn ENGAGE customers, leading to increased sales and profits. Every company can do this when it Manages the Experience.
For over a decade, my firm, Brand Integrity, has worked with companies who want to inspire an ENGAGED workforce to live their company's brand. At the time of this writing, over 60 percent of Brand Integrity's clients were noted on "best place to work" lists either in their region, industry, or on FORTUNE's 100 Best Companies to Work For annual ranking. In almost all cases, our clients are wildly profitable and continue to grow and prosper. These companies embrace and take action on the Eight Principles of success presented in this book.
In my last book, Achieve Brand Integrity: Ten Truths You Must Know to Enhance Employee Performance and Increase Company Profits, I introduced the concept of Brand Integrity as a business result. It's the end state you achieve when your company is known as who and what you say you are while reaching business goals—when all of your marketing messages and sales-speak are backed up and delivered upon.
It seems crazy to me that so many companies still create organizational silos between the employee view of the brand and the customer view of the brand. It's not only crazy, it's way too complicated. The brand is your image based on the experiences had by human beings. It is based on how you are BEING to human BEINGS! There is no need for separation of branding disciplines. This separation is a result of poorly designed silos in the workforce between sales, marketing, HR, and operations. To achieve Brand Integrity, all of these disciplines need to come together, and the company's managers need to recognize that there is really only one brand for the company based on an experience delivered. And that experience must be managed if a company is going to achieve an ENGAGED status with employees and customers.
Achieve Brand Integrity was delivered in a conversational style and tone, packed with energy, humor, and knowledge. You can expect that same combination from this book. What is different about ENGAGED! is the intense focus I will share on how to measure the experience, creating unheard of visibility among leaders in your company. These measures are not new in concept, only in application. You will learn proven methodologies that use readily available technology to quantify your culture and customer experience, helping you to make important business decisions to improve your work culture and customer loyalty. This is not simply another book on employee engagement (clearly not needed) or the customer experience (although many more are needed). The best practices shared in this book will enable you to measure whether employees are Living the Brand, whether managers are Managing the Experience (being courageous, data-driven leaders), and whether customers are having the experience they want (do they love you? or at least like you a lot?).
From my experience, ENGAGED is what every company wants more of. With the time you invest in reading this book you will learn the Eight Principles that will help you get more ENGAGED employees and customers.
What do I mean by ENGAGED?
An ENGAGED workforce is made up of employees who are committed and motivated to act in the best interest of your company. ENGAGED customers fall in love with your company, are more loyal, proactively tell others about you, and buy more of your company's products and services (and do so more often). As you will learn, the benefits of engaging your workforce and customers are easy to see and difficult to refute.
Your journey is broken into two parts.
In Part 1 you will discover how to create a Living the Brand System rooted in managerial and employee behavior. I will cover the topics of employee engagement and its impact on the customer experience as well as proven approaches for defining a mindset and experience that can be profitably delivered.
All businesses operate with systems. No business could work efficiently and effectively without them. You have HR systems, distribution systems, customer service systems, financial systems, sales systems, etc. Just think of your company's C-suite. They're all managers in charge of critical systems.
There is one system that works across all the systems in your company—a Living the Brand System. No one person or job function owns it. Pigeonholing it in HR can be detrimental because you end up with a bunch of fluffy values integrated into performance systems with poor expectationsetting and limited accountability. If you confine it to marketing, it can be harmful because then you're left with a bunch of promises that your employees are not empowered or motivated to keep.
A company must do three things to implement a Living the Brand System:
1. Clearly DEFINE the branded experience. (Okay, I realize we're already on our third footnote. There are only a few in the whole book. It's important that you understand these key terms up front.)
2. REMIND employees about the delivery of the experience—clearly setting expectations, communicating, and holding everyone accountable.
3. QUANTIFY the experience and link it to financial results.
Defining the branded experience is the "simple" step. Engaging management with the reality that continuous reminding and quantifying is not only a management skill but also one that will make them much more trusted as leaders is considerably more difficult. In this book you will learn logical business theories that have been transformed into management tools, techniques, and measures that make it incredibly practical for defining, reminding employees about, and quantifying the branded experience.
While I am on the topic of reminding, let me share a little secret that I will refer back to throughout your journey through ENGAGED! When it comes to implementing an employee- and customer-focused branded experience, your success as a company (and as a manager) will be determined 1 percent or less on the training provided to the workforce and 99 percent or more by the ability of management to remind them. More to come on this little secret in the pages ahead—in fact, in Principle 8, you will see how your company can easily reach 150 reminders per manager a year.
Part 2 will explore the necessary courage and data required to quantify the branded experience and hold it accountable (yes, you can and should hold the experience accountable) for delivering upon the financial results you already measure. You will be introduced to an approach for looking at your branded experience from a 360° View that includes employee, customer, and financial metrics. You will learn proven methodologies for learning from employees whether they are Living the Brand and gaining insights from customers as to whether they are witnessing the brand in action, leading them to refer your company and buy more of your products and services.
Each chapter will begin with a few highlights for those of you who are "skimmers." That way you can quickly determine how deep a dive you need to take with each of the Eight Principles. At the end of each chapter is a Power of the Pause section. The purpose of this section is to get you to slow down, linger for a moment, and think before moving on. Doing so will help you reflect on what you just learned and how you can apply it for maximum benefit in your company.
This is not a one-size-fits-all solution for defining, managing, and measuring your branded experience. My goal is to provide you with the right questions, methods, and metrics to evaluate and understand your current culture and customer experience to help you better understand the employee and customer perspective. The questions and insights I throw your way will lead you to answers best suited for YOUR business, for YOUR people, and for YOUR customers. Use this book to make the choice as to whether your company has what it takes to ENGAGE employees and ENGAGE customers.
When I refer to employees in a company, I mean all employees, including managers and senior leaders. Anyone who collects a paycheck is an employee. This is important because in no way do I want any readers to think that some portion of this material does not apply to them. When I refer to leaders or managers, I mean anyone who has the responsibility to lead employees. I will use the terms leaders and managers interchangeably throughout. If you are someone who has people who report to you, you're a supervisor or a manager and the learning from this book will be directly applicable. If you're not, but aspire to be one, the Eight Principles will help you with your career advancement.
HOW WOULD YOU RATE YOUR CULTURE TODAY?
Take a moment and rate how much you agree with the following statement.
Employees throughout our company are aligned, committed, and motivated (ENGAGED!) to deliver a consistently great customer experience.
Unless you scored a nine or ten, do not plan on simply skimming this book. Read the chapter highlights, but dive deep and explore the possibilities the Eight Principles present. Getting employees aligned, ENGAGED, and motivated is what it takes to deliver a branded experience that drives profitability. The following prose will show you how!
THE EXPERIENCE IS YOUR BRAND
A 2013 study found that 49 percent of executives believe customers will switch brands due to a poor customer experience. Even more interesting is that the same report found that 89 percent of customers say they have switched because of a poor customer experience. Do you think this trend will continue? I sure do. Because while the great majority of companies want to be good at delivering the customer experience, very few are investing the necessary resources to create the systems to define the experience and ensure it is consistently brought to life. As consumers we are fed up with tolerating employees in companies who act as if they are doing us a favor by providing ... well ... customer service. The latest research shows there are three main drivers of a bad customer experience, which are easily avoided with an ENGAGED workforce. The three drivers and how often they happen are:
1. Employee was rude: 73 percent
2. Employee was too slow to resolve my issue: 55 percent
3. Employee lacked the necessary knowledge: 51 percent
The experience is what employees and customers use to determine if they will be loyal to your company. Employees evaluate their work environment (the culture) and what it is like to work in your company, and that perception has a profound impact on their attitudes and actions. Customers evaluate their experience at every point of interaction with your company's people, products, and services. The experience impacts their willingness to continue purchasing. In both cases, the experience drives the brand image your company becomes known for. The experience creates engagement for both employees and customers.
In Achieve Brand Integrity, I outlined the Four Realities of Branding. I will share them again here to emphasize the point that the type of branding I am talking about has nothing to do with marketing the brand and everything to do with inspiring employees to live it.
LIVE THE BRAND!
ENGAGED employees Live the Brand to help their company achieve Brand Integrity. To Live the Brand means you KNOW the mission, values, brand positioning, guiding principles, etc., that your company has announced to the workforce and marketplace and you know how to DO them in your day-today job.
Before you dive into Principle 1: Get Every Employee on Stage, Delivering the Experience for Customers, pause and answer the following questions:
Am I Living the Brand at work?
Are employees around me consistently Living the Brand at work?
Are customers ENGAGED because they consistently have the experiences they want?
The companies that consumers love to do business with have cracked the code on creating an ENGAGED workforce that Lives the Brand—they outbehave the competition. These companies get recognized as best places to work and get rewarded with ENGAGED customers who are incredibly loyal. These companies know the brand is about doing, not saying. You will read about best practices these companies use for making the brand a part of the hiring, performance evaluation, and recognition systems, as well as how they gather and share customer feedback. You will learn how they create measurable behaviors and objectively and passionately assess their ability to do them. You will learn how they create experiences that earn their customers' admiration and dare I say ... love.
I invite you to join me, my teammates at Brand Integrity, and our clients on the journey to creating more ENGAGED customers with an ENGAGED workforce.
Please read on ...
Excerpted from ENGAGED! by GREGG LEDERMAN. Copyright © 2013 Gregg Lederman. Excerpted by permission of Evolve Publishing, Inc..
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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