As 5 October approaches, Customer Experience professionals worldwide are preparing for a celebration of acknowledgement, knowledge sharing and showcasing of Customer Experience stories from around the globe.
As each time zone awakes, there will be gatherings, online discussions, webinars, social media buzz and general excitement and igniting of ideas.
What is customer experience (CX)?
I define it as the emotions and decisions that result from the internal narrative of a person that is sparked by an interaction with your brand.
As a certified customer experience practitioner and someone passionate about seeing people and brands be the best version they can be, I would like to use this time to acknowledge the brand warriors who serve and defend brands with pride every day.
What is a Brand Warrior?
My definition of a Brand Warrior: “Someone who has the courage to find out who he is and stand up for his own brand and therefore able also to represent a public brand through his personal passion and pride.” This could mean your formal role may be product development, customer service or finance.
In the last year, I have met Brand Warriors who fulfil their role with grace despite a variety of challenges and obstacles, and who have retained their integrity despite flawed leadership and poor executive judgment calls. I have met people who speak to customers for eight hours daily despite their own hurt and worries, and they do it because it matters.
I have met Brand Warriors who are bursting with compassion and connection and I want to take a moment to mention a few stories that have touched my heart.
A medical scheme that cares
Who would expect a medical scheme to have a brand ambassador make bedside visits and ask patients how they are feeling, instead of just submitting them to painful and lengthy claims processes? Who would expect to be addressed by name in a warm voice, while when they call Client Services they are merely a membership number and a source of ICD codes that unlock the mysterious door to the world of claims and hospital authorisations?
This experience exceeded my expectations and set the bar for any other medical scheme. Too often we have seen large brands become cold and clinical as a result of cost efficiency and products not being tangible. Health insurance is merely a promise that is tested when you are in need of medical services, which most of us don’t submit ourselves to willingly. What is more important at that moment when you are admitted to or recovering in hospital than to be shown care and compassion? We will be featuring this Brand Warrior on www.customerexperienceindaba.com by the end of October 2016.
A flight attendant who held a grieving daughter’s hand
The next story is about a flight attendant who brought Kleenex and a cup of tea to a crying passenger and then put a hand on the passenger’s shoulder saying or asking anything. That crying passenger was me, a few hours after my mother had been killed in a car accident. A couple of days later I was on a flight home and the same attendant came, called me by my name and held my hand. A few weeks later I saw her again, and she showed the same compassion and care. She saw me at my saddest moment and reached out – not because she was told or trained to but because she knew how, and the connection made her feel significant. We have stayed in contact and bump into each other often. You can watch her speak in November during an interview we will be recording for www.customerexperienceindaba.com.
Your brand no longer matters as much, but your Brand Warriors matter to your customers!
It is no longer about best-voted brands or biggest brand, it is now about giving recognition to the individuals who stand proud in their pursuit of compassion and connection. It is about featuring these individuals as role models, for society to see that it can be done by young passionate people who are driven by pride!
Tell the stories of proud and passionate Brand Warriors
I am sure there are as many stories as there are people reading this post! I urge you to nominate your special Brand Warriors so we can tell their stories and through their telling inspire and motivate people to serve because they do it for themselves and believe in the good in other people.
Thank someone today!
I want to end this post with another invitation for you to thank someone. Show gratitude to someone who went that extra mile, who made your day, who understood you, who wanted to make things easier for you … Just thank them and ask them to thank someone else in turn. Let’s use CX Day 2016 to start a thank-a-thon, a wave of gratitude that will swirl around the globe as we touch each other’s hearts.
Thank you for reading this post! Thank you for supporting brands! Nominate a Brand Warrior today or tomorrow … just do it!