Some good, simple, actionable advice from John Moore

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It's Friday and I have a ton of things to do before the weekend hits... but I didn't want to finish out the week before posting one more little bit of marketing goodness. John Moore - over at Brand Autopsy - gave me exactly what I was looking for, and it's this:

"Astonish employees and they will, in turn, astonish customers."

Simple enough, right? (So how come so many companies only remember to do something for their employees around Christmas time, or when they've had a decent quarter?)

We aren't talking about a $25 gift certificate to Blockbuster, or your choice of a company pen, T-shirt or flashlight.

The term John used is "astonish," which implies a little more effort and attention than just giving your employees an empty token of "gratitude" that is as bland as it is... kind of insulting.

Note to all department managers: If you're going to reward your staff with T-shirts, make them the types of T-shirts that you want your employees to actually get excited about. (Hire a hot local graphic designer to design something unique or fun or cool . It's cheaper than you think.)

But enough about T-shirts. We're talking about "astonishing" your employees - not merley giving them a perfunctory nod, which is exactly what the folks at Macintosh did recently when they surprised all of their US employees with a brand new iPhone.

In John's words:

"Giving every full-time employee a $600 (retail value) iPhone is an astonishing act that will only help to feed the already vibrant evangelical corporate culture within Apple. (...)At Starbucks, we would also spend marketing money on employees. We knew if we could get Baristas jazzed, they would get customers jazzed."

Think back to an experience you've had recently (or not so recently) when you walked into a store or dealt with someone who was absolutely in love with either their job or the company they worked for. How was your perception of that company affected by their enthusiasm? (How likely were you after that experience to a) recommend that business to friends and peers, and b) do business with that company again?)

Now think back to your last experience with a bored, apathetic grocery store cashier, or with an unqualified telephone customer service rep, or with a passive-aggressive waitress who REALLY needs a vacation. How different might your perception of that company be? How likely is it that you will make that business your first choice? How likely is it that you will speak well of this business and recommend it to friends?

All things being equal: Pricepoint, quality of the work or food or product, product performance, cool packaging, etc. - the quality of the experience surrounding human touch-points becomes primordial.

Two average grocery stores can have a radically different image or reputation based SOLELY on the way their employees behave. The same is true with any business in which people (employees) interact with other people (customers): Restaurants, banks, retail establishments, medical offices, auto mechanics shops, etc.

Employee behavior can be radically impacted by their managers' positive or negative treatment.

Therefore, customer experience can be radically impacted by the way a company treats its employees:

Average treatment of employees = average customer experience.

Good treatment of employees = good customer experience.

Great treatment of employees = great customer experience.

... And so on.

So rather than tossing the occasional cheapo bone to your employees to maintain morale (or whatever,) start thinking of ways that you might make them feel special. Think of ways of rewarding them, or of saying "thank you," or making them feel truly appreciated that kind of... well, stand out. Get them jazzed about working for you. Make them feel proud and excited and vibrant.

Every once and again, make them feel that they aren't just easily replaced pawns.

Make them realize that you truly understand their value to the success of the brand they help shape in the public's eye every single day.

The way you treat your employees is the way your customers will be treated.

Have a great weekend, everyone. ;)

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