Unleash the Power of Your Brand Ambassadors


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Your Silent and Invisible MVPs

Many of you will be familiar with the Washington Post article about Joshua Bell, the renowned classical violinist who performed unnoticed and unrecognized in a DC metro station during a busy January 2007 morning commute. One of the world’s most accomplished musicians was playing one of the world’s most precious instruments and 1,097 people rushed past as if he were silent and invisible.

While you will likely never encounter an accomplished musician providing the soundtrack for your daybreak travels, this story still raises the questions – what incredibly special moment, people, and experiences are we rushing past each day? What brilliance is concealed within our own organizations?

Every company has great talent. Some companies know exactly who they are. They value them, learn from them, promote them, and imitate them. Others, like the oblivious DC commuters in the Pearls before Breakfast story, fail to see and appreciate all of the incredible talent working alongside them.

Since high levels of customer engagement and loyalty depend upon an emotional connection with the organization’s employees, Brand Ambassadors (those employees who consistently go above and beyond for customers) are essential. They are the ones who create and sustain these emotional connections. Brand Ambassadors are a company’s Most Valuable Players.

Finding the Pearls in an Ocean of Customer Feedback

An emerging trend in Voice of the Customer (VoC) programs is to use customer feedback to help find and recognize a company’s most talented employees. Customer feedback surveys can include a Recognition component that generates kudos to an employee or employees who went above and beyond on behalf of the customer. This is a way for customers to say to managers and executives, “Pay attention! This individual is valuable!”

We have had the great privilege in the last month to talk to five Brand Ambassadors from five of our top performing clients to explore what makes them do the things they do. These individuals all received PeopleMetrics 2011 Brand Ambassador Award for getting the highest proportion of customer Recognition alerts within their companies. We uncovered three common elements to these Brand Ambassadors’ stories:

  1. The Company’s Customer Service Philosophy Aligns with Their Own: All of our Brand Ambassadors credit their company’s leaders as setting the tone around customer centricity, they are proud to work for their companies:

    “Our client service philosophy is defined from the top, delivering premiere client service in a manner that exceeds expectations is our goal. I have never lost a client due to service.” (Derek Criswell, Moss Adams)

    “Crowe always seeks to do what is best for the client. It’s easy to push for a bigger system, bigger project, but if they don’t need it, the client’s trust is eroded. We strive to be a trusted advisor” (Susannah Heitger, Crowe Horwath LLC)

  2. They have a Sense of Pride, Engagement and Personal Responsibility: Without exception, our Brand Ambassadors love what they do and see purpose and meaning in their work. They have a deeply held belief that customer service work is the most important work of all and that they have a personal responsibility to their customers and their organization to do the right thing and perform at the highest level:

    “I truly believe that this is important stuff. Customer Service is important. It gives life meaning.” (Peter Landis, Signature Flight Support)

    “You need to be a human being. You need to be honest with people.” (Sascha Spei, The World)

    “I just think about how I would like to be treated as a customer….it’s about treating others as you would like to be treated.” (Barbara Zonin, The Addis Group)

    “I work with a continued sense of urgency in serving my clients and take personal responsibility for their relationships and experiences with Moss Adams. I am Moss Adams to my clients.” (Derek Criswell, Moss Adams)

  3. They Appreciate their Co-workers: All of our winners spoke of the great and talented team with which they work. A strong team appears to be a necessary ingredient to delivering superior customer experiences:

    “It’s the whole base, the whole team, not me that makes this award possible.” (Peter Landis, Signature Flight Support)

    “I’m lucky to work with a group of people who genuinely enjoy what they do.” (Barbara Zonin, The Addis Group)

While these characteristics can be used to spot your own Brand Ambassadors the best way to ensure that you do not ignore your top talent is to systematically uncover your most valuable people. You do have silent and invisible talent in your organizations. And, your customers can help you find and recognize them. The next step is up to you – do you want your best talent to play unnoticed in a subway station or lauded on the stage of a sold out concert hall?

Kate Feather
Kate is the leader of Customer Experience Transformation practice at PeopleMetrics. She partners with dozens of Fortune 1000 companies to provide Customer Experience Strategy and Voice of the Customer consulting services.


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