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Brand: Tell Me How You Look After* Your Sales Assistants and I’ll Tell You How You Look After Your Customers
Inmaculada Urrea, expert consultant on branding at SOFOCO
A brand is born to give a functional response with its products, but of equal importance (or even more) is to give an emotional response with its value proposal. All brands need to mean something to their customers, and that involves having values and knowing how to embody them in a philosophy.
This brand spirit must be experienced by all the employees, from the CEO down to the messenger boy, and it must be genuine, something that can only be achieved if the example is demonstrated from the top. Otherwise, the brand will start off disappointing its own employees and end up doing the same with its customers. Brands have to be honest about their values and promises.
Having said that, let’s talk about brand ambassadors. A brand ambassador is a person who is considered a representative of the brand. He or she is the messenger of the brand’s philosophy, which is embodied in each of the employees because they are all part of the whole.
However, if there are fundamental ambassadors, they must be the sales assistants, because they symbolize the link between the brand and the end customer. They are the rung in the ladder that joins the brand with the customers and they are the people who come into contact with the brand’s customers and possible customers every day.
A good sales assistant must know how to convey information about the product he or she is selling, and do it correctly and in accordance with the brand philosophy (for example, the high-end sector is not the same as the large retail sector). Above all, they must be able to win customers over with the information they provide. A good sales assistant must leave a positive impression on everyone who enters the store, regardless of whether they make a purchase or not.
The store is the sales assistant’s habitat. It is the meeting point between a brand and its customers, where the definitive emotional impact occurs, where the brand’s history is experienced live. Today a store can be either physical or virtual. It doesn’t matter, as in either case the customer’s experience must be impeccable. At the end of the day, the Internet is made up of people, too.
It is essential that in places where customers come into direct contact with the brand, where things happen, where history is experienced, there are people who exemplify the brand identity and know how to convey it in their day-to-day work. This is the only way that customers will be able to have a memorable experience.
A brand is an idea predicated on a number of values and embodied in a history that must be experienced at the sales point, and this idea is connected to the customer through the sales assistant, the customer’s first ‘real’ point of contact with the brand. The sales assistant is responsible for providing customers with positive experiences. This is the doorway to customer loyalty.
Brand: Tell Me How You Look After* Your Sales Assistants and I’ll Tell You How You Look After Your Customers. When a brand is aware of the importance of its sales assistants it ensures that its best ambassadors are also its customers.
*By ‘look after’ I don’t just mean their wages. Money is important, but it’s not all. Always remember that.