Customers do not build a passionate connection to a company through company policies, customer service procedures, or name badges. Because customers are people and people do not connect to buildings, signage or inanimate objects, they connect to other people. And when they feel a positive connection to a person they begin to feel warmly toward the company they are doing business with.
Brand Ambassadors are the people inside your organization who, through their great work and commitment to service, create Passionate Promoters of your brand. In turn, these Passionate Promoter customers are living, breathing advertisements for your organization, bringing in new customers who are more engaged and more forgiving of service errors. Brand Ambassadors are crucial catalysts that set off a whole series of positive outcomes for your business. That’s why we believe it’s important to seek out Brand Ambassadors as part of any successful Voice of Customer (VoC) campaign. Every company has Brand Ambassadors within its ranks—the challenge lies in finding them.
PeopleMetrics’ research for the 2011 Brand Ambassador Award winners uncovered certain characteristics that all Brand Ambassadors share:
1. The company’s customer service philosophy resonates with Brand Ambassadors.
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Employee Engagement is high among Brand Ambassadors. Our research shows that part of this stems from the fact that Brand Ambassadors agree with their organization’s ideas about how customers should be treated.
Susannah Heitger, a Brand Ambassador at Crowe Horwath LLC, explains, “Crowe always seeks to do what is best for the client. It’s easy to push for a bigger system, bigger project, but if they don’t need it, the client’s trust is eroded. We strive to be a trusted advisor.”
2. Brand Ambassadors see important meaning in their work, and this makes them proud, engaged, and conscientious.
You’ve probably heard about the brick layer who, when asked what he was doing, reported that he was building a cathedral that would stand for centuries. And we’ve written about hospital janitors who say they’re saving lives by providing a clean, safe hospital environment. These employees are engaged because they are able to see the significance in their work. Likewise, Brand Ambassadors see their work with customers as meaningful and important, as the following quotes from Brand Ambassador Award winners epitomize:
“I truly believe that this is important stuff. Customer Service is important. It gives life meaning.” (Peter Landis, Signature Flight Support)
“I just think about how I would like to be treated as a customer….it’s about treating others as you would like to be treated.” (Barbara Zonin, The Addis Group)
3. Brand Ambassadors appreciate their co-workers.
All of the 2011 Brand Ambassador Award winners talked about being a part of a larger team of talented co-workers. For instance, Peter Landis at Signature Flight Support told us, “It’s the whole base, the whole team, not me that makes this award possible.” Strong teams are a rich environment for the creation of Brand Ambassadors.
Although we have found that Brand Ambassadors share the above characteristics, it’s important to remember that because every business is unique, every organization’s Brand Ambassadors will be unique as well. You may not know which of your employees consistently provide “wow!” experiences, but your customers do. Therefore, the best way to find the Brand Ambassadors within your ranks is to set up a Voice of Customer (VoC) program that can systematically gather feedback from customers on which employees provide stellar service. PeopleMetrics’ Voice of Customer solution, for instance, sends a special Recognition Alert to managers and leadership when a customer praises an employee by name. Once you know who the Brand Ambassadors are in your organization, you can study what they do right, so you can teach other employees how to create the connections and experiences that turn your customers into Passionate Promoters.