Your Organization’s Personality

Motorcycle company Harley Davidson has incredibly loyal customers. Riders join clubs and wear Harley clothes, and some even have Harley tattoos. Many CEOs and chief marketing officers point to Harley as the holy grail of customer loyalty, and wonder what they can do to be more like Harley.

The answer: don’t be more like Harley. Be more like you. Connect with your customers in your own way to build excitement that is unique to your brand. Here are two examples.

  • Northwestern Mutual, the U.S.-based financial services company founded well over a century ago, has built a reputation for stability. Their customer service is professional and effective. “Thank you, Mr. Cleveland. Enjoy the rest of your day.”
  • MOO is a fast-growing London-based design and printing company. They encourage their team to (in their words) be passionate, lovely and ambitious. Their approach, like the company name, is more playful: “Have an awesome day, Brad!”

In both cases, these companies’ unique personalities shine through—and it would create very odd customer experiences to swap their styles of service!

I recently stayed at a resort hotel with my family on a short weekend break. We arrived on a hot Saturday evening, and my engine light came on as we pulled into the entry area. I mentioned the light to the parking attendant and he replied, rather brusquely, “If you have car trouble you need to move. We can’t have your car sit here.” No empathy, no suggestions on where I should go.

I later mentioned this encounter to a manager. She was visibly embarrassed, saying, “That’s not our brand.” Her concern in those few words was genuine and heartfelt, and I have a feeling they’ll reshape the coaching and support they give their employees, to ensure their brand’s personality shines through from the very first hello.

Excerpt from Contact Center Management on Fast Forward by Brad Cleveland.