Firm’s Owner Has an “Undercover Boss” Moment of Horror

boston marketIf you’re not familiar with the show Undercover Boss or the recent Boston Market Undercover Boss’s “I can’t believe my employee thinks and acts this way!” moment of horror, you can read about it here.

What she saw terrified her and, although extreme, is a great cautionary tale for business owners.

What she found reminded me of an experience a business services firm owner shared with me a while back.

Lars (not his real name) who owns a business services firm shared with me recently his own terrifying Undercover Boss moment of truth.

His firm’s brand promise focuses on their being the “easy to work with, responsive to our clients” firm. He decided upon this as his key differentiator after doing a series of interviews with prospective clients to find out what they wanted from firms like his and what they often did not get.

The most common theme he heard by prospective clients was frustration over being kept in the dark about the progress being made on their project and account reps not getting back to them promptly…or at all.

Based on this, Lars built his business and its processes around being easy to work with, responsive, and maintaining open lines of communication. He emphasized their “client-friendly” approach in his marketing. With his team, he emphasized how this was their key differentiator and the key to their success.

Then came his Undercover Boss nightmare Moment of Truth

When one of his account reps was on vacation, Lars needed to get some information on a client of hers. Because the information was in the team member’s email account and he didn’t have her password, he contacted her for the information and then searched for the emails related to this client.

What he saw shocked and horrified him.

He found email after email from the client asking for information, asking for updates, imploring the account exec for a return phone call or email response.

His team member was giving exactly the opposite experience that Lars was promising the marketplace they could expect from his firm.

What If You Really Knew What Was Going On Behind the Scenes?

Do you sometimes wonder what is really going on behind the scenes? If not, you should.

Because no one is perfect and most employees are overwhelmed and most leaders could be far more clear on what their Brand Promise looks and sounds like…the chances are good that the brand you are promising is not always the experience your clients are getting.

At worst, it might not even be close. At best, you probably have pockets of excellence and pockets of averageness. At best, you probably also have client experience inconsistencies. Sometimes they get great service, others times, they are treated in a careless, amateurish way.

So…How Can This Help You?

Here’s how you can benefit from the lessons in Lar’s nightmare…

1. Put a system in place to get ongoing client feedback

2. Discuss with your team what your Brand Promise looks and sounds like in action. Make this a never-ending, ongoing process by  involving them in “show and tell” examples from their interactions.

3. Make it safe for both clients and your team to speak up if they’re not getting what they want or need. In the case of your team, they might think they need to just suck it up and trudge along with inadequate resources or an overloaded plate…which will set them up for failure. Conversely, if they know that you will listen to them and work together to help them succeed, they will bring up potential problems before they blow up.

4. Look at your team and ask yourself how well they are delivering your Brand Promise. If some aren’t, it’s time to have conversations around their willingness to learn or whether it’s just not a good job fit.

5. Examine your hiring process to make sure you are hiring people who can deliver your Brand Promise.

For More Help In Making Sure You Deliver Your Brand Promise, Contact Brand Promise Partners

 

 

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