There are absolute truths, there are relative truths and there are true lies. In the field of branding there is only one truth: the customer’s perception. Because their perception is their reality.
Surely most people think of the external customer, unintentionally forgetting the internal one. But the internal customer is essential to build a good branding.
Today, 7.5 out of 10 brands could disappear, and no one would care.
This fact, not opinion, highlights how poorly most brands are building value with their internal and external customers.
Truth be told: most brands do not care for, motivate or inspire their employees, let alone their customers.
Despite the fact that 9 out of 10 customers switch brands because they don’t feel appreciated.
I don’t mean treated like a king, but simply appreciated.
I share with you two very recent examples. The first one flying from Venice to Madrid and the second one flying from Amsterdam to Madrid.
On the first flight, with Iberia, the promise of value was not only not fulfilled but not even approached. Cold treatment (despite being a Platinum traveler), impersonal and absolutely forgettable. I am well aware of the operational and labor complexities that the pandemic brought, but I am also aware of the imperative need to humanize the treatment, processes and interactions.
In the second case the experience was simply great. There were only 3 of us in the check in line (because in these pandemic times you have to go through the counter to get a complete DNA test).
After two minutes a KLM person smilingly directed us to two new counters that opened because there were 3 of us! An exquisite treatment, close, professional and that makes the difference.
I have an unscientific statistic that 9 out of 10 experiences with brands are regular, bad or very bad.
And it never ceases to amaze me the huge amounts of money invested in flagship stores, designer lounges, charming hotels, mega trendy restaurants, beautiful pharmacies or fabulous bookstores, to name a few, but almost all of them fail in the same thing: the -bad- treatment.
During the customer journey, no matter the industry, there will inevitably be at least one interaction with a human, and that’s where the journey either goes wrong or goes up.
For decades I have been hearing textbook arguments to justify bad or regular treatment: high turnover, low engagement, culture that does not capillarize, paradigm shifts, digitization….
Many brands are very clear about the excuses but few are able to transform them into value and solutions.
How much revenue is lost by not offering a good brand experience?
How much revenue is lost due to the negative impact of poor treatment and service?
72% of workers feel lonely, often due to remote work and hybrid workplaces. And that’s a problem. Growing evidence shows that loneliness is linked to a variety of physical and mental health problems, ranging from depression to substance abuse.
And their findings indicate that this is also a problem for companies. Lonely workers are seven times less likely to be engaged at work and five times more likely to miss work due to stress or illness. They are also twice as likely to be thinking about leaving their employers.
So there is an incentive for employers to look at this problem and address it.
And we’re not talking about million-dollar investments in high-speed networks, cloud storage, robots and machines to automate processes, or artificial intelligence to speed up the flow and analysis of information; we’re talking about promoting empathy, friendliness, excitement, exceeding expectations and delivering on promises.
Not only is it more cost-effective, it is also more profitable.
It is important to keep in mind that 75% of brands could disappear overnight and most people would not care, or would easily find a replacement.
In the relationship between brands and customers (internal and external) there is a true lie: all companies claim to care for, pamper and satisfy their customers.
And there is also a real truth: very few do.