Last week a friend of mine signed up with a cable TV provider for both his television and Internet services. Once he was happy with the way things were working, he started making calls to cancel his old satellite TV service and previous Internet supplier (two different companies).
He knew they would go into desperation mode to keep him from canceling by lowering prices and making other special offers. So as both of these customer service representatives went into their scripts he said, “I understand that you have some things you need to tell me, but could we please speed it along as much as possible, I have a lot of things to get done here.”
I could only hear my friend’s side of the conversations he was having with the customer service representatives as they were tending to his request. The outcome was the same for both. He discontinued service. However, when he ended one of the calls, he thanked the rep and expressed sincere appreciation.
The call with the other rep ended like a contested divorce.
Although both customer service representatives were really doing the same job and my friend was the same person in both cases, his personality jibed with one and not with the other.
Anna Tomalik, writing for the LiveChat blog puts it very succinctly: “Expressed personality evokes an emotional response (her emphasis) from the people who get in touch with your company.”
The example of my friend illustrates how personalities can either mesh or clash in a customer service interaction. However, as Tomalik points out in her piece, personality permeates your entire company and it’s a huge contributor to the overall customer experience. Further, with all the different ways customers interact with companies today, the personality of your company has a lot of different outlets through which it can be expressed.
Tomalik discusses a video that welcomes visitors to the Raleigh Denim website. It’s a truly personal look at the couple that founded the jeans maker and it really expresses their personality. Further, their tag line is, “For people who love what they do and get s**t done.”
Is that personality, or what? I bet their New York store exudes the same “can-do” attitude. After all, it boasts an in-house chain stitch hemming machine so you can get your jeans hemmed up to the perfect length right then and there. That’s getting “it” done, isn’t it?
When you infuse a distinctive personality in your company, you connect with your customer on another level (sometimes an emotional level) that supports the idea of creating an amazing customer experience. In my book, “The Amazement Revolution,” I use the example of Lenny’s Sub Shop in Memphis, and specifically the franchise’s airport locations.
The outlet at Gate B4 in Memphis is legendary. Not only do they serve the gargantuan sandwiches the franchise is famous for, they serve them with a heap of Southern sass that is just as generously proportioned. Lenny’s is known for serving food with personality!
Customers praise the staff just as much as they do the food. Think about this for a moment. What kind of personality do you expect – and usually receive – from the food servers at airport fast food restaurants?
Establishing a corporate personality that is both strong and appealing works in your favor. As the Memphis airport Lenny’s teaches us, a vibrant personality can be a great aid in marketing and also branding. In fact, if your business doesn’t have a personality, it’s hard to know where to start your branding. A cool logo only goes so far.
So put your company’s personality under the microscope. See if it is consistent across live customer interactions as well as your web presence. If you have a vibrant web site, but exude a stodgy personality during live interactions, you have a split personality.
And that will lead to customers splitting.
Shep Hyken is a customer service and experience expert and New York Times bestselling author. Find more information at www.Hyken.com.
This article was written by Shep Hyken from Forbes and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.