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Branding Bytes Archives

Issue 35:
Thoughts On Using Social Media

Issue 34:
Reigning in Public-Private Partnerships

Issue 33:
Seven Ways to Avoid Toxicity In the Workplace

Issue 32:
A Few Bad Apples Bruise the Brand

Issue 31:
Branding Beyond the Logo

Issue 30:
The Yin and Yang of Celebrity Leadership

Issue 29:
Want to Raise More Funds? SPEAK UP!

Issue 28:
Government Funding Cuts: Act!

Issue 27:
"We Are Sorry":
Your Brand is Your Behavior

Issue 26:
Tell Your Story

Issue 25:
Good Leaders

Issue 24:
Think "People,"
Not "Organization"

Issue 23:
What's in a Name?
Just about Everything!

Issue 22:
Is Your Mission
Getting Creepy?

Issue 21:
Welcome to the Age
of the New Normal

Issue 20:
"Receptionist" vs Director of First Brand Impressions

Issue 19:
It's Not About How Your Message is Delivered

Issue 18:
When it Comes to Your Brand, Details Matter

Issue 17:
A Good Brand Requires TLC: Just Ask My Wife!

Issue 16:
Toxic-Work-Environment Syndrome Can Tarnish Your Brand

Issue 15:
Adjusting to the
New Face of Need

Issue 14:
Tired of all the Doom and Gloom? This is Your Time!

Issue 13:
A New Year's Resolution: Don't Cut Off Your Nose

Issue 12:
What You Do Is
About All of Us

Issue 11:
Ethical Standards
and Your Organization

Issue 10:
Leadership: Whose Journey is it, Anyway?

Issue 9:
Giving Circles
and Branding

Issue 8:
The World's Richest Men
— and Philanthropy

Issue 7:
What is an External
Brand Audit?

Issue 6:
Keeping Everyone
on Brand Message

Issue 5:
What is an Internal
Brand Audit?

Issue 4:
Turn Board Members into Better Brand Ambassadors

Issue 3:
Leadership, Vision
— and Branding

Issue 2:
What's 1st—Organization or Brand? / Govt. Cuts?—Branding Helps

Issue 1:
Branding Myths

Issue 20, Fall 2010

"Receptionist" vs Director of First Brand Impressions

I needed to change my flight plans — and dreaded going through the process.

I'd done it with other airlines, and it was always a protracted, frustrating ordeal. To make matters worse, this particular morning I was on a deadline and had little time to spare.

I braced myself for dealing either with an automaton-like personality, or worse yet, the dreaded "Press 1 for this….Press 2 for that….Press 3….Press 4….and if you'd like this menu repeated, please press…." Yikes! I drew a deep breadth and made the call.

"Hello, my name is Susie. How may I help you today?"

I paused, dumbfounded!

"Are you a real person?" I replied, after propping up my jaw.

"Yes," she said in a friendly, receptive voice. "My name is Susie. How may I help you?"

"Well, Susie, my name is Larry, and I have a problem. I need to make a change to my departure time to New Orleans."

"That's no problem, Larry," she said. "Just tell me what changes you need to make.

I did, and in the process we laughed and joked about my initial anxiety about making the call. I was off the phone in less than 10 minutes — and didn't even mind paying the $70 fee to make the change to my ticket.

But before hanging up I asked Susie for her supervisor's telephone number and called to compliment on how well Susie had served me over the phone. "Susie's a great Director of First Brand Impressions," I told her supervisor, without reservation. "And I'll fly with your airlines any chance I get."

But what really happened?

Getting off the phone, I tried to analyze what had just happened. What had Susie done to make me want to spend the extra time to call her supervisor — on a morning when I was pressed for time, at that?

My answer was surprisingly simple: Susie was just doing her job, albeit, in a competent, friendly manner. Nothing more. Nothing less,

Isn't it sad, I thought, how low our expectations have become for receiving good service — and how much we recognize and appreciate it when we are served well.

Fact is, the overwhelming majority of first-contacts to most organizations come over the phone. Yet we often overlook the critical impressions those contacts have on callers.

I don't know about you, but in my years of calling hundreds of organizations and dealing with countless "phone receptionists", I've often been given bad information, talked to as if I were an imposition rather than a valued caller, put on interminable hold, felt like I had just woken the person up, or been treated downright rudely. Heck, sometimes I don't even get past the receptionist and I'm already questioning whether or not I want to do business with this group.

Take the test yourself. Call your own organization, and then ask, "Was I received in a way that would make me want to call this organization again?"

What's it take to turn a "receptionist" into an effective "Director of First Impressions"?

And, for heaven's sake, if you need to use an answering machine, please, please make it sound like a human being recorded the message. And keep the menu options to a minimum. I beg you!

As always, I look forward to receiving your feedback, questions, success stories and branding challenges. Also, if you are in need of a motivational speaker, trainer, branding consultant/coach, or management consultant who can help you answer the questions: Who are we? What do we do? How do we do it? And should anyone care? I invite you to for more information.

In the meantime, good luck with your branding! — Larry

About Branding Bytes

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