Brand Promise

Business Etiquette in the Age of Texting

Posted on July 8, 2011. Filed under: Brand Promise, Customer Experience, Practical Branding |

I’m giving a presentation on business etiquette to a professional society in a couple of weeks. I think I have a decent handle on business etiquette, but did some research to get the latest and greatest. There are some pretty interesting pieces of information out there, things like, “You can talk about politics, as long as you don’t attack a particular side, but you should never, ever swear.” I don’t know about you, but I think we’re better off if both are off limits!

One piece of advice I really like, though, is that true business etiquette isn’t a bunch of rules, but rather a genuine regard for those around us, be they prospects, customers, or colleagues. Don’t you hate it when a provider’s employee bashes another employee or group of employees? I’m thinking about our cable provider at home…when we had a technical problem and had to call someone out multiple times to fix it. Inevitably the person working on the issue would tell us that the previous repair people didn’t know what they were doing. That frustrated me on a multitude of levels! Or how about this one? I read about a guy who had called his bank and asked too many questions; the bank had a policy that a maximum of three questions could be asked per phone call. When he went to the bank and complained, he was told that all could be resolved if he just understood the rules. Apparently it was his fault, not the bank’s. (I wonder whose fault it was when he moved his accounts to a different bank?)

It’s pretty obvious when there’s a genuine regard for someone else…and when there isn’t. For those of us responsible for sales and the customer experience, it could look something like this. Once the agreement is drawn up and sent over, the offering bears no resemblance to what was presented by the salesperson due to a desire to “just get a sale.” Or it could look more like this. The account manager has no idea what the customer purchased because there’s been no handoff of information. Just two scenarios, and there could be many others, but you get the picture. It’s still pretty obvious when there’s a genuine regard for someone else…and when there isn’t.

So in this age of texting, when addressing an envelope is nearly a lost art, when email is often misunderstood as communication, and when automated prompts answer our phone calls more often than people, dare your brand to be different. Dare to have a genuine regard for those around you. Let’s all show a little love to our prospects, customers, and colleagues. Let’s stop worrying so much about business etiquette rules and simply care…a lot!


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The Magic of Roy’s

Posted on April 1, 2011. Filed under: Brand Promise, Customer Experience, Practical Branding |

My husband, Don, has a penchant for Roy’s Restaurant – Hawaiian Fusion Cuisine. His penchant is so great that he has a goal to visit all 33 locations across the US. We had the pleasure of meeting RoyYamaguchi, world-renowned chef and founder of Roy’s, last fall during a visit to Hawaii.  He and his team members have been intrigued about Don’s quest, as he’s the first person they’ve met with such a goal. As such, this quest has given rise to a “challenge of the restaurants” since he reached number 15.

A couple months ago, I was with Don when we visited Roy’s number 29 and 30, and we were treated to phenomenal customer experiences both evenings. I have to tell you the stories.

I should start this by telling you that Bryson Keens, Managing Partner of the Roy’s in Baltimore, has become a champion of my husband’s quest and now calls each Roy’s prior to Don’s visit to let them know they have a Roy’s aficionado coming. Whatever he says to his colleagues tends to bring out the absolute best creativity in them. So, the first night, we dined at Roy’s in Bonita Springs (#29), Sondra Hon, the Managing Partner there, came to greet us and get to know us. We received a special appetizer, compliments of Sondra, and gifts of two beautiful martini glasses and Hawaiian motif USB drives. We were treated like royalty the entire evening and felt like we were dining with good friends all around us.

The second evening, we visited the Roy’s in Naples (#30). Upon arrival, we were seated at the “seen and be seen” table, which was reserved for us and overlooked the entire restaurant. We began talking to the Managing Partner, David Lamarca, who graciously came to welcome us. Jerry, our waiter, was anxiously watching us and when we finally stopped chatting, he immediately came over and said Chef Eric (Delano) was waiting for us with a special appetizer. We thought the appetizer was prepared and waiting in the kitchen. But no, indeed Chef Eric was waiting to come out and create this appetizertableside for us. What a treat to watch him prepare seared tuna, lobster bisque, and marinated mushrooms as he described the ingredients and the preparation of each. We had a lovely conversation with him until he had to return to the kitchen! Following a fabulous meal and glass of wine, Jerry brought out dessert for us – Roy’s molten chocolate cake. Our tab, to our amazement, was nearly zero as the restaurant had provided most of our dinner with their compliments. Before the evening was over another waiter, Carlos, stopped by just to say hi and thanks for the loyalty. Carlos wasn’t our waiter; he simply saw a special experience and made a decision to “up” the ante a bit. More martini glasses (we now have a set of four), a photograph for posterity, and we were sent home very full and very happy.

So, great story you say, but what are the take-aways? Consider these three:

  1. If you’ve never been to a Roy’s, you need to go – fabulous food, amazing atmosphere, and wonderful people.
  2. Each Managing Partner and Chef Partner we’ve met (and we’ve met quite few) lives the Roy’s brand. We see how Roy’s managers and chefs emulate the spirit he personally brings to his conversations and, obviously, his career. For example, how fun is the rivalry Bryson Keens has evoked among the partners based on his enthusiasm over Don’s quest?
  3. Living the brand through the customer experience goes beyond the Managing and Chef Partners to every employee. Carlos took it upon himself to come over to us, even though he wasn’t our waiter. He’s not the first Roy’s waiter or hostess to do that…they all make us feel special.

Feeling special, feeling valued…isn’t that what we want our customers to feel? But in the throes of the workday, how many of us make the intentional decision to do that? It’s easy to forget. But remember, what your customers see, what they hear, what they touch, and how they interact with you defines their customer experience. Roy’s gets it and has made the decision to make customers feel valued.

Don will make it all the Roy’s restaurants…and honestly, we can’t wait to see what’s in store at each one along the way!

Wouldn’t it be great if your customers felt the same way?


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