Posted on April 25, 2010
I got the lawnmower out today for first time for the
season. Although the retirees on my street had already
de-thatched, fertilized and manicured a month ago, I was ahead of
my regular spring regimen. After the lawn was cut, it was
time to get out the weed trimmer. But then I
remembered: it was on the fritz since last fall and in need
of some serious maintenance.
I jumped in the car and headed over to Sears, where I bought the
trimmer about 6 years ago. After I maneuvered my way through
the maze of polyester work pants, Kenmore dishwashers and shop
vacs, I found the lawn and garden section. Then a
mime wearing a Sears shirt pointed to the repair
"But there ain't nobody there on Sundays," said a nearby former
English teacher turned sales consultant.
Why wasn't anyone there on a Sunday? Well, because, there
was a "self-service" kiosk there that surely could diagnose the
mechanical problem, and give me an estimated repair cost and
completion date. No, but I did enter my name and information
so I could qualify to push a button so a clueless teenager could
come out and hand me a work order to complete. I asked him a
couple questions about the costs of diagnosing the problem,
and the process for when and how someone would follow up with
me. He jerked the work order ticket from my hand and read
aloud the instructions on the back.
Stop! I heard enough.
While we don't all sell weed trimmers, we do, like the customer
service dynamos I encountered, represent our organization to every
patient or visitor. Every experience forms the brand, or
perception, of our hospital or clinic.
Brand is, in fact, the sum of all parts-all experiences-related
a product or service, as well as the organization delivering that
product or service. That includes interactions with employees at
all levels. Needles to say, it's imperative to integrate your
brand strategies at every point of public contact.
Remember that building a brand starts on the inside. When you
build, integrate and maintain a brand from the inside out, everyone
on your staff becomes an ambassador for your hospital or
Internal communication not only leads to greater levels of
employee engagement, it also prepares them to live up to your
organization's brand promise to those you serve. Obviously, not all
Sears personnel got that memo.