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Creating a Positive Client Experience

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Recently, we read an article on the Fast Company blog about an Uber driver who had a 4.99 star rating, despite a whopping 5000 rides given. We were pretty impressed. Usually even a really good driver gets bumped down in rating by a couple drunks who are causing trouble or not getting what they wanted (we’ve heard lots of Uber stories!), or maybe the driver had the wrong radio station playing when someone enters the car and the passenger just didn’t like it. There are lots of ways to lower that perfect score, so seeing a score this high was unique. Reading the article really got us thinking – how can we use this Uber driver’s approach to client service in our work? How can we all apply this driver’s model behavior in our lives and work?

“We Cannot All Do Great Things. But We Can Do Small Things With Great Love.”

This Mother Theresa quote can apply to many situations, and we thought it particularly fit this one. In this case, the driver left his country and career as a corporate businessman with an MBA to move to Toronto. As is often the case with immigrants who are highly educated professionals, he had a tough time accessing the same positions that he had filled in his native country, so Uber was a second choice. However, that did not mean that he lowered his standards of performance. He treated his job as an Uber driver the way he would treat a job as a high-level corporate exec. He kept his car exceptionally clean and fragrance-free, he treated his customers with utmost respect and attention, and he paid attention to every last detail to improve his customers’ experience.

Customers’ Happiness First

This driver put his customers above all else. He made personal sacrifices for the sake of their comfort, probably in ways that they didn’t even realize. For example, he would eat raw salads in order to keep his car scent-free. Ever ridden in an Uber in which the driver had just eaten a McDonald’s cheeseburger or even just smoked a cigarette? It can be downright offensive. When you get in a scent free car, you may not notice anything at all, but you’ll definitely notice when a car smells bad.

Other ways he showed respect and professionalism – using the customer’s name, asking what music they want to listen to rather than having the radio blaring when they entered the car, cleaning the car after each and every ride. All small things that can make a big difference.

Often, keeping a customer happy is much easier than you think. If you can always think in a way that the answer is yes, you can be agile enough to get your customer what they need, when they need it. For instance, they may have an extremely tight deadline on a particular project. Rally your team to work together, come up with a plan, be flexible and creative. Communicate well with your team and with the client. You may have to work late hours a couple nights to achieve this deadline, but you can make it up to yourself later if that’s what it takes. Be passionate about making your customer happy, and you will have a 5 star rating too.

Employees Are Also Brand Ambassadors, Not Just the Executives

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Pinstripe has seen, all too often, the mistakes people make when posting on social media. Everyone makes mistakes. We get it. Some mistakes are minor, like the usual typos and a forgotten word or two, while others take on a whole other dimension that can cause a firestorm of negative feedback. Then, even worse, it goes viral.

For the most part, these mistakes are somewhat ridiculous. However in some circumstances, they can have negative consequences for nearly everyone connected. Unfortunately, the individual’s employer could be attached to their profile, and in turn cause customer backlash.

Employee handbooks have whole sections devoted to these issues. Plus, more companies are adopting them. So, why don’t companies turn something that’s perceived as negative into a positive? Encouraging employees to post the great things about the company can have a huge advantage in the social media race.

In the Past…

Bad things said about a company or it’s employees were talked about among family and friends and were rarely found in the papers, which only had a regional effect. However, because of technology, the word-of-mouth systems of old have taken on a whole new meaning. So has the phrase “spreads like wildfire.” Anything posted on social media has the potential to do this. There are so many social media outlets today that monitoring them in order to defend a company’s reputation has turned into a growing industry.

Education and Training

The trick isn’t monitoring, it’s educating. This goes beyond company policies on proper etiquette. Think about creating a brand ambassador program to educate and train employees on how to accentuate the company’s marketing efforts. Instead of having a neutral social media policy with do’s and do not’s, you are creating a positive force of brand ambassadors.

Below are some very basic steps to setting up your employees as brand ambassadors. The possibility of a substantial return on this investment could exceed your expectations.

  1. Communicate the Plan

Informing employees about expectations and repercussions will let them know exactly what the company’s vision is and how social media can highlight the company in positive ways. GE’s brand ambassador plan is a great example of how a company can increase customer engagement through employee engagement.

  1. Provide Guidelines

Your employee handbook should already have social media policies against inappropriate posts. So, they need to know what they should post. Examples are an easy way to answer questions about content before they’re asked.

  1. Permission and Content

You’ll need to reassure them that there are no repercussions for posting positive info and pictures. A little trust will go a long way. To help them along, you can have hashtags available and URLs for quick access on a company page.

Maintaining a Positive Reputation

When employees post good things about their workplace and services, people will take notice. This is especially true when bad things happen and the company goes into crisis management mode. If an overwhelming amount of positive information is out there, then that leaves very little for negativity to thrive on. A positive reputation is easier to uphold in the social arena, and employees as brand ambassadors are a great way to achieve and maintain it.

Everything I Know About Marketing, I Learned from Wonder Woman

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It’s no secret that I have been a fan of Wonder Woman since an early age. And, for good reason. She symbolizes the strength and intelligence every woman possesses. My personal philosophy of Wonder Woman marketing goes into every project I’m a part of, every meeting I attend and every opportunity that comes my way.

More than a Super Hero

The Wonder Woman movie captivated audiences across the globe. It almost reached the billion-dollar mark at the box office. Not to mention, the comic book series has changed much since World War II, yet continues to be published for many adoring fans. Why? Because Wonder Woman had timeless qualities that women (and men) of all eras can admire: god-like strength and intellect, and a benevolent nature.

A Positive Symbol for Everyone!

Over the years, I’ve collected Wonder Woman themed goodies, like the wall mural with Diana making funny faces or the latest Pop! Comics figurine.

wonder woman photobooth

My friends have also given me some of the best gifts that depict her in fun and quirky ways I think everyone can relate with. They are all displayed prominently in my office. I can still look upon each gift and get inspired to do my best for my friends and clients. It makes me feel good to see Wonder Woman is also inspiring another generation of young women stepping forward to take on the world with confident intelligence.

More to Come

Did you know that Wonder Woman also had great powers of persuasion? She used her intuition and intellect, as much as her Lasso of Truth, to convince people that the truth was the best option. This got me thinking about how marketing has a lot in common with Wonder Woman’s super powers and gadgets. Over the next few months, look for our articles on how Pinstripe is inspired by Wonder Woman and hopefully she’ll inspire you to be a Wonder Woman in your own work, too.

 

Passion – The Road to Success

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We expect to see passion in entrepreneurs, small business owners, and freelancers – these people are following their dreams to own their own business doing what they love most. Passion is what drives them morning, noon, and night to work hard, talk about their business often, and go out of their way to make their business successful. But what if we saw passion in employees of larger companies and even enterprise corporations?

The Brand Ambassador

We recently scheduled a series of photo shoots to begin building a media library for one of our larger clients – a Fortune 500 behemoth with locations in Tampa, throughout the U.S., Canada, and Europe. At each location there has been one thing that we’ve noticed – every person we’ve encountered has been incredibly helpful, knowledgeable about their company, and passionate. They not only helped us by guiding us through their processes, explaining many of the inner workings of their organization so we gain a better understanding of what images and video we need to create and informing us of shots we may have never realized we needed, but they did it with a visible pride. Their hospitality has been incredible – we expected to be greeted and then left to our own devices, but what we received from each person who assisted us was a personal tour guide and brand ambassador. We are impressed.

Passion – A Part of Company Culture

What we began to notice is that each person in this company exceeded our expectations – in essence, they were acting like business owners rather than employees by demonstrating the same passion an entrepreneur would. This is something that we have always believed in theory, but never has it been so thoroughly supported by direct empirical evidence. What it boils down to is employee empowerment. Empowering your employees instills in them the same passion for the business as the business owner, and it is a direct result of the culture that you create within your organization.

How to Instill Passion in Company Culture

There are many ways to create a culture of passion and ownership. Here are just a few:

  • Transparency. Give people visibility into the decision-making process
  • Collaboration. Provide spaces that facilitate collaboration and make sure managers are collaborative with their employees
  • Autonomy. Autonomy is an important part of ownership – make sure people have autonomy in as many aspects of their work and even their schedule as possible
  • Community. Establish a tight-knit community within your organization, bringing people together to get to know each other, make them feel at home, make sure that executives mingle often with the rest of the organization’s employees, make sure people have fun in addition to working hard
  • Training and education. Offer thorough education about the industry, organization, its history, clients, etc, and commit to updating that education frequently. Offer courses so employees have opportunities to learn more about their jobs and build upon their job skills and offer resources for further education
  • Hiring. If you keep in mind company culture during the hiring process, you will ensure to bring on employees that share a passion for your business, will thrive in your company, and take advantage of the education and training that you offer
  • Loyalty. Be loyal to your employees – they will reward you with the same

These are just a few ways to introduce people and programs that will create a culture of passion. They are easily applicable to smaller organizations, but employing them on a larger scale may prove more difficult. We know it is possible and have seen it in action, but it requires company-wide participation. It won’t be successful if everyone is not on board.

Here are a few articles that offer advice on creating a positive culture within your organization:

3 Ways I Created a Culture of Passion

8 Rules Creating Passionate Work Culture

Building a Culture of Passion and Excellence

What methods do you employ to build a company culture of ownership and passion?