It can be all too easy for Marketing to be broken down into a set of rules that business have to follow for sales to go up: “End your prices with 9s!”, “Have more promotions!”, “Make sure your positioning is razor-sharp!”, “Get your distribution right!”
It can become easy for concepts to become abstract when we read about them. The best way to learn sometimes is really to see examples at work.
In the video I have shared, Delores helped to define that 7-Eleven retail store for its customers. The customers have a real relationship with Delores because of her friendly disposition, and this makes people want to come back for more. What the President of 7-Eleven realised at that point was that it was not the coffee product that was being sold, it was the service of being greeted with a smile in the morning by a friendly face. A small gesture like remembering the names of customers makes a big difference on the traffic and sales for that particular store.
An article in Harvard Business Review wrote about the phenomenon of companies making friendliness a “rule” when serving customers. This means always smiling at the customers, always attending to his needs, etc. When enough of this is done, both the employee and customer would realise that it is manufactured, like what the author in the article discovered. Neither would enjoy that experience very much.
What is required is a sense of authenticity that stems from a genuine desire to serve the customer to the best of the employee’s capabilities. This can and should be built into the brand through hiring practices and educating of such values to employees. This does not mean a list of things to do or not do, but rather what beliefs the brand holds. Expression can be secondary. Delores in our video hits her customers – logically a no-no in customer service.
There needs to be a return of authenticity to business and brands as consumers become increasingly educated on marketing tactics and skeptical of mold-casted customer service.