Be innovative in reinforcing critical brand behaviors
Do your company processes support the right behaviors from your employees to reinforce your brand? Gene Gray, President of Innovative-IDM, shares how they crafted innovative business processes to build a culture that supports their brand positioning.
Robin: Hello and welcome to this edition of Brandonomics, an inside look at top brands and their marketing strategies. I am Robin Tooms, VP of Strategy at Savage Brands, and my guest again is Gene Gray, President at Innovative-IDM. So, Gene, welcome back.
Gene: Thanks for having me back.
Robin: I’ve enjoyed having you here sharing on Brandonomics about all the work you’ve done to build the internal culture — such a strong culture. And what I really like about it is you have this brand position around delivering legendary customer service. But how do you get your employees to live that every day?
Gene: Wow, great question. You know, the business process that we use for that, we call the Legendary Customer Service Cup, or the pursuit of the Legendary Customer Service Cup. Now the LCS Cup in and of itself, I mean, it’s a big cup like the Stanley Cup. We take all the employees in a bigger location, and we divide them all into teams. Each of these teams competes by getting points to win the Legendary Customer Service Cup.
Robin: So how are these teams organized?
Gene: Great question. The teams themselves are cross-functional; so there will be someone from Customer Service, someone from Marketing, somebody from the warehouse, somebody from Accounting, and you smash them together, you break the teams apart and put them back together differently each quarter. But we meet every day. And this meeting every day is where we gather up, we have those – the kind of the pep rally – we call it Hoopla internally – but we talk about, after we kind of get through what our goals are and we do our little chanting, we ask are there any legendary acts from yesterday? And we bring up three things: we bring up how we helped each other, how we helped get the company better, and what we did that was legendary for a customer.
Now the interesting thing about this is we organized this big game, there’s a scoring committee that meets afterwards; there’s this big process about it. But think about this: we walk in this room, we circle up and we tell each other what we did yesterday to help customers, get the company better and help each other as teammates. And we do this every day and you know, if you did something and the scoring committee says, that was legendary, well you get 50 points. But it’s kind of interesting, if I bring you up and we’re on different teams and I say, here’s what Robin did yesterday, then since I brought you up, you get 50 points for doing something legendary, and I get 25 for recognizing you in public. So now what you have is this environment where we walk in there and we come up with the things that we saw our peers do and we give them that recognition on a daily basis.
And you know, that’s cool; that creates this positive environment that’s nice, this affirmation of the neat things – I worked late last night, someone recognized me.
Robin: That’s great because you’ve got this really strong team mentality about it, which brings a lot of teamwork, but it’s also constant reinforcement of the idea of the brand promise, legendary customer service.
Gene: That’s exactly. So the thing of it is, the real secret behind this is not that you’re having the meeting everyday, and it’s not that you’re doing this wonderful affirmation of the positive things you saw people do, but think about the new person that gets brought into the company. All of a sudden they come into the company, they really don’t know anything but the company name, maybe they’ve researched you on the website, but now they’re getting ready to talk to customers. How do they know how to handle that? How do they know how to deliver on that brand of legendary customer service?
Robin: Because they’ve seen examples of it.
Gene: Every day. So what happens is they go into this meeting on a daily basis, and on average, you’ll hear three really good legendary customer service acts. So they hear three solid examples of how to take care of each other, how to take care of the company and how to take care of our customers on a daily basis. So you take a new employee, they’ve been there, they go to work for, you know, 5 days a week, 30 days turns into 60 days turns into 90 days. Next thing you know, with hearing 15 examples each week, 180 examples in the first 90 days — 180 examples of how we take care of each other, how we take care of the company and how we take care of our customers. That’s how you water that garden, that’s how you manage that brand and internal culture on a daily basis. So this is not a pep rally – or it is – we call it Hoopla but really it’s a business process; probably one of the most innovative business processes I’ve ever put together.
And at the end of the month the team with the most points wins the Legendary Customer Service Cup, they get a lunch on the company and a half a day off.
Robin: What a great way to operationalize that and reinforce the brand.
Robin: Thank you. This has been another edition of Brandonomics, an inside look at top brands and their marketing strategies.
Innovative-IDM is an industrial automation and controls company with distribution and manufacturing locations in both Dallas-Forth Worth and Houston, and with sales and field service technicians across the southern U.S. They are committed to legendary customer service. http://www.innovativeidm.com/