Thursday, August 15, 2013

Three Words to Help You Create Customers for Life

How engaged are your employees? Do you have a way to accurately measure their engagement levels? How do you create a culture of "living the brand" that leads to engaged employees and customers as well as financial rewards for the business?

Are you nodding or shaking your head yet? Good! Help is on the way! Today's post is about a new book by Gregg Lederman, CEO of Brand Integrity, that is being released later this month (August 27, to be exact). The title of the book is "Engaged! Outbehave Your Competition to Create Customers for Life." (Note: Gregg sent me an advanced copy of the book to read and review.)

Curious about those "three words" I mentioned in the title? Remember them: Live. The. Brand. It's a theme that Gregg builds on and refers to often in the book. It's not a new concept for Gregg, though, as he wrote about it in his first book, Achieve Brand Integrity, as well.

You know me. I'm a fan of consistency!

What does it mean to live the brand? According to Gregg, it 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-to-day job." Or, said differently: "when your employees KNOW the brand and DO it consistently by making it a part of their everyday lives at work."

In his second book, Gregg expands on the concept and tells you how (and why) to do it - he tells you how to implement the Living the Brand System. There are three main steps:
  1. Define the branded experience
  2. Remind employees about delivering the experience
  3. Quantify the experience and link to financial results
One of my favorite concepts in the book, something he mentions frequently throughout, is the secret to success: 1% training and 99% reminding. (Perhaps that's why he mentions it so frequently throughout the book!) The things you think may be common sense are not common practice. And ongoing communication and reinforcement are key.

There are so many great things that I could share about this book; it is an easy-to-read handbook to guide you through your quest to create the ultimate customer experience through engaged employees who live the brand. Gregg's writing style is fresh and engaging. He provides sensible diagrams, how-to lists, examples, step-by-step guidelines, and links to online resources to support the approach.

He outlines the eight guiding principles of success for the Living the Brand System; each principle warrants its own chapter. The first four principles define the Living the Brand System...

1. Get every employee on stage, delivering the experience for customers.
2. Make happy employees to create engaged customers.
3. Don't just announce your culture, make it visible.
4. Sprint from culture talk to culture change.

... while the other four, in the second half of the book, are devoted to quantifying and linking to financial results.

5. Quantify your culture to turn common sense into common practice.
6. Any monkey can survey; start building relationships with customers.
7. Put the carrots away; rewards don't work the way you think they do.
8. Manage the experience to build trust in you as a leader.

Speaking of quantifying, there are no black box metrics here to measure engagement; in the chapter that explains Principle 5, Gregg tells the backstory about the Engaged Index, which questions to ask, why,  how to ask them, and how the index is created. I like the theory behind why the questions are asked the way they are asked; it makes total sense to me.

Here are the four questions, which are rated on a 10-point scale, where 10 is something you would definitely say.
  1. I am motivated to go "above and beyond" what is expected of me at my job.
  2. I would stay with my organization if offered a similar job elsewhere for slightly higher pay.
  3. Assume that a friend or family member of yours is currently looking for a job and qualifies for an open position at your company. How likely is it that you would recommend it as a place to work?
  4. Assume that a friend or family member is interested in your company's products and/or services. How likely is it that you would recommend them?
One of the online resources that Gregg offers to supplement the book is a website called Engaged Index. You can go to this site to answer the four questions about yourself to determine how engaged you are relative to others at your company or to the rest of the world. Even though you have to enter your company name (so that a score can eventually be generated for your company), no other personal information is required; the survey is anonymous.

There's so much good stuff in this book that I'm going to go back and read it again. If you want more details, go to the Engaged Book site. Taking a page out of the Index, I am assuming that you are interested in this book; I would definitely recommend reading it!

"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). The benefits of engaging your workforce and customers are easy to see and difficult to refute." - Gregg Lederman

8 comments:

  1. Thanks for the review, I will have a look at the book.

    I'm coming to the conclusion that as organisations become larger and more complicated no senior executive can possibly understand how they operate. It is only the employees on the shop floor who really understand how their bit works.

    So if you want to improve your organisation the only way you can really do that is via your employees insights. And if they aren't engaged you can kiss that idea good bye.

    James

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    1. You're welcome, James... and thank you! You always know how to summarize a point/concept in a nice package. You said it well again. I agree with your conclusion. Employees, their insights and their contributions, must be valued and recognized as critical to the success of the organization. A disengaged employee does no good.

      Annette :-)

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  2. Good points James. Employees are the key. The value is created in those critical last two feet between the company and the customer.
    Best,
    Stan

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  3. You certainly deserve a round of applause for your post and more specifically, your blog in general. Very high quality material! Thanks for sharing !

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  4. Thanks for sharing this review, Annette. It's hard to find compelling customer service titles that provide new information or a fresh perspective, but it sounds like this one qualifies. I've added it to my reading list.

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    1. You're welcome, Jeff. I think you'll enjoy it!

      Annette :-)

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