Is a snazzy logo helpful to your organization? Sure. Is it everything? No way. Marketing is not only about your corporate identity or the “marketing campaigns” you run; it is about how you run your business and how your customers feel about you. These feelings are developed over time with each interaction a customer has with your company. This includes how the receptionist answers the phone, if your teller waived the last overdraft fee for a loyal customer, and the manager that kept his store open late for the desperate parent looking for the last Tickle Me Elmo. These types of interactions cannot be written in a manual and can’t have a price tag attached to them. They are derived from your company culture and hiring the right people.
Recently, I was perusing an article on Southwest Airlines and was blown away by the section that discussed the autonomy the organization gave to all of their employees. This included ground level employees, not just the managers. See the below passage for yourself:
“All personnel involved in turning a plane around could be asked by them to help out wherever needed. Failure to do so according to schedule resulted in a ‘team late.’ Rather than assess individual responsibility, teams were then tasked to figure out how to avoid the problem in the future.”
The passage continues: “The theme driving this effort …was ‘doing whatever it takes’ instead of it’s not my job.’
There are two very powerful pieces in play here, autonomy and culture. A strong culture of delivering results is evident here. The team system motivates employees to work together even if that means taking on tasks outside of their job description. This benefits the passenger and the organization vs. the individual employee. Employees feel pressure from fellow workers to step up their game and lend a helping hand; otherwise they will all be seen in a bad light.
Additionally, Southwest is known for hiring great people and providing them with the autonomy to make decisions they believe are in the best interest of their customers and the organization. It is not uncommon for interviews to include Southwest’s frequent flyers and large group interviews. Southwest tries to instill the family feel in the organization vs. the sterile corporate norm.
“It’s not my job.” is possibly the most dangerous phrase that can be uttered in a customer oriented organization. Think about this the next time you are spending 3 days deciding on the new logo, while your receptionist is barking at your customers.
Image Credit: CEOWorld