People HATE to be sold but they LOVE to be charmed.
Answering my phone on the drive into North Carolina on another icy day, the panic in my wife’s voice was apparent as she described the downed power lines, broken trees, and ice covered landscape that had darkened our little neighborhood for the fourth time this season. I’m sure she could have dealt with no electricity, heat, or light, but what was making the side of her mouth twitch was the thought of our three children home from school trying to figure out what kids did for fun, in the olden days, before video games. Instead of preparing to spend the night on the floor in front of the gas fireplace, I said “find the closest hotel with an indoor pool and pack a bag – let’s go!’.
We checked into a Marriott, fifty miles away, and headed to the pool. The overpowering smell of chlorine and obscenely loud echoes of children’s laughter blended with the sounds of adults sipping cocktails from plastic hotel cups. We were the only ones in the pool area, so the screaming and splashing kids didn’t bother us until another couple came in and slipped into the hot tub.
We are fully aware that no one in the world thinks our kids are as cute as we do, so as they dripped back and forth between the pool and hot tub, we became concerned the new couple was going to find our kids as appealing as second hand smoke. We walked over make our apologies, and it turns out that they were a delightful couple from Boston who were taking a trip across North Carolina on their way to Asheville.
As a local, I recommended a few sights along the way and insisted that they have a cocktail at sunset from the veranda of the Grove Park Inn. We exchanged the customary “so, what do you do?” and it turns out that they both work for Bose. Quickly in the conversation it became apparent they really enjoy their jobs and love their company.
I love meeting people who are passionate about what they do, so I asked many questions. Karl, told me about the different capacities that Bose serves and since I write and speak on building member loyalty, he shared good customer service stories. I was particularly impressed with the extra lengths he goes to serve military customers overseas. He asked if I had the latest pair of Bose headphones. I am very familiar with Bose noise cancelling headphones, (lusting after them in every airport, I could never bring myself to pay $300 for a pair.) Karl simply said, “you have to do this for yourself”.
Karl stopped by our table at dinner later that night and we exchanged cards. The following week, after the ice had melted and our lives began to flow once again, imagine my delight when a UPS package arrived at my door containing a brand-new pair of Bose noise cancelling headphones with a note from Karl that said “nice to meet you, these should ease your travels a bit”. My lusting was over. Karl provided legendary service.
I don’t know exactly where Karl falls on the Bose organizational chart, but as far as I’m concerned, he is right at the top with the title ADVOCATE. Karl is an ambassador for Bose. He believes in the company, the product, and the purpose of Bose. Because people love doing business with people who love their job, I am now, not only a customer, I’m an advocate.
I speak to companies across the country who are desperate to drive more business through their doors. They talk of social media campaigns, marketing, promotions, and Facebook likes. Most don’t get what Karl knew instinctively “People hate to be sold, but they LOVE to be CHARMED”. Of the five strategies that we share to CHARM customers (Civility, Honesty, Advocacy, Relevance, and Mindset), Karl Charmed me with his advocacy of the Bose brand and as a result Bose now has my business.
Do you encourage your employees to be advocates for your Credit Union? Do you want to convert members into fans? Start with your people. Give them the power to assess member needs and act. Employee Branding, the reputation that a company develops as a result of the positive relationship with its employees, is crucial to creating employee advocates. Bose demonstrates Employee Branding through Karl’s advocacy of the product and he knows that if you can’t create an emotional connection with your members…you’re going to lose them. Treat your employees like your Credit Union can’t exist without them…it can’t.