Brand Lovin: Share Your Story

Last week I read the book, Delivering Happiness: A Path to Profits, Passion and Purpose, (affiliate link) by Tony Hsieh.  And while it was an easy read, it really does challenge you both personally and professionally. My personal opinion is regardless of your role in a company or the segment your business plays in, you will enjoy this book.

The book is full of insights about making your brand irresistible. And at the end of the day, isn’t that what we all want? Or do we? Are we more focused on profits than customer loyalty and happiness? We have all been there when management declares: “we need our stock price to be x”, or “we have to make our numbers no matter what.” And I agree profits are important as are the shareholders. However, if you are focused only on the bottom line, or the quota then sometimes your customers suffer, your vendors suffer, your employees suffer, and in the end so will your profits and shareholders.

In Delivering Happiness, we learn that Zappos is not only focused on making their customers happy. They are focused on all of the relationships in their supply chain…even the employees.  I really love this philosophy. If you have ever had an interaction with Zappos, or any other brand that operates this way, it is obvious and the experience stands out.  Employee enthusiasm is contagious not only amongst the other employees but the customers as well.

While many business scholars may view the Zappos model as a little unorthodox or “loose”. The customers and employees might beg to differ. Zappos has created an environment where the employees are empowered and are responsible for the care of the brand. While I was reading the book, I carried it with me everywhere (it’s hard to put down), to the gym, out to eat, waiting in lines….you get the idea. Interestingly, when people noticed what I was reading they wanted to engage me about Zappos and their experiences with the brand. And in every case, their story was just that, their own personal story of how Zappos had delighted them. Candidly, after I finished the book I carried it around for a couple more days because I truly enjoyed hearing the stories, and while the overarching theme was the same, no two stories were alike.

So….as we kick off this first day of summer, I thought it would be fun and interesting to spend this week talking about the brands and people who have delighted us. I like the idea of sharing the goodness for a variety of reasons:

  • Brands or people who have delighted us should know – let’s create a place to brag about them or thank them for the goodness they delivered.
  • Others want to know and do businesses who are delivering happiness, it’s a tall order.
  • We can learn from these positive experiences and put them into practice in our own businesses.

On my end I  will spend the week sharing my personal stories as well. How about you? Are you willing to share your story? Have you had an experience that surprised and delighted you?

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{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

Robyn June 23, 2010 at

Mike,
Wow, what a great story, I appreciate you sharing it with us! This is an incredible example of an employee who is empowered to ensure the dining experience is memorable!
Also, thank you for sharing your Zappos story. Communication can make or break our experiences with brands and Zappos takes great care to communicate clearly with their customers at every point in the sales process.

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Robyn June 23, 2010 at

Brandy
I love the term gracious gesture! And it's great to hear about how this restaurant was focused on making sure your dining experience was a good one. The soup was a small gesture but it stays with you and I'm betting this is not the first time you have told this story….and that's good for them as well!

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Robyn June 23, 2010 at

Beth
Thanks for sharing your Kaufman Tire story. It is great to hear that they have consistently delighted you and that you keep returning!

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Mike Yawn June 22, 2010 at

And since you're talking about the “Delivering Happiness” book (which I'm also reading and enjoying), I should include my own Zappos story — even though, it turns out, it isn't really my unique Zappos story so much as everyone's story. The first time I ordered from the site, I found that I had been upgraded to free overnight shipping, and then informed that I was now a VIP and given the special VIP URL to use in the future. There was also great communication at every step of the process (even though, with the overnight shipping, the start-to-finish wasn't that long). It was a great introduction to what online shopping could be, and now I'd much rather buy online from Zappos that go into a local brick-and-mortar store.

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Mike Yawn June 22, 2010 at

Nikolai's Roof restaurant in Atlanta has always been a favorite of mine, but after one particular dinner there they definitely made me a customer for life. As soon as I walked away from my car in the parking garage I realize that I'd locked the keys in the car … with no spare anywhere nearby. We went ahead to the restaurant and I explained to the maitre'd that I'd need to step out and use the pay phone to call a locksmith (this was before cell phones were common). He instead showed us to our table and said that they would make the call. Later during the meal I was told the work was complete and was able to step out for just a few minutes to settle up with the locksmith and retrieve my car keys. Since the locksmith only accepted cash, the maitre'd even discretely asked if I needed cash for the transaction; it turns out that I did and he smoothly slipped me the cash, and added the charge to our bill where I could settle up with the credit card. What would have been a very stressful evening turned into a great dinner with just a tiny hiccup that was very smoothly handled.

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Brandy Nagel June 22, 2010 at

At a fancy-schmancy restaurant in New York, I had a great experience. Everyone else at the table ordered an appetizer, but I didn't. When the appetizers were brought to the table, the waiter served a small bowl of soup to me and said (with a wonderful French accent) “The chef does not want you to feel lonely”. The soup was exquisite – just three spoonfuls. A small serving, but a very gracious gesture.

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bethmulhern June 21, 2010 at

My delightful story concerns Kaufmann Tire. My husband and I went to our local branch when my 2002 Cougar needed 2 tires badly. Tires for this vehicle had been difficult to find and very pricey in the past, due to their unusual size, etc. The technicians we spoke to at Kaufmann were efficient, accommodating, and made it clear that they could get the tires we needed – no drama, no difficulty. We were surprised and delighted when they offered us a Memorial Day (holiday) discount (we didn't know about it or ask for it). This same kind of treatment happened again when we needed 4 tires for my husband's truck, and when I went alone to have a service done on the car. It's no nonsense, positive service and they always are more than willing to provide us with great value as well. I LOVE good customer service!

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