The Awesome Responsibility
The Awesome Responsibility is a concept I came up with a number of years ago. It describes the role an employee has when interacting with a customer. In that moment, one person in the company represents everything about the company. When people walk away from doing business with a company, they will often say things like, “I enjoy doing business with them,” or, “They are so helpful.”
Typically, the word they is used to describe the individual who helped the customer. That person was responsible for delivering the experience that represents the company. That’s a pretty important job, which is why I refer to it as The Awesome Responsibility.
Some may call that employee a brand ambassador or advocate for the company, but I have a new title for that individual: CEO of the Moment.
Each employee has a huge amount of power. They can confirm your reputation — or not. They can deliver on your brand promise — or not. Or, they can reflect the values of your company — or not. You get the idea.
Anyone who, at any time, is interacting with a customer is confirming or eroding your brand promise. That is why hiring the right people and properly training them is so important.
Let’s talk about training for a moment. I’ve had debates with clients about training seasonal employees, part-timers, and employees they know will leave within a year. My position is that everyone must be trained. Some can go through different levels of training, but they all must be trained to deliver a certain standard of customer service.
One employee is your brand’s reputation. Consider this. You have 100 employees, and 99 of them are amazing. However, one hasn’t been properly trained and doesn’t quite get the culture. If customers happen to be talking to any of the 99 amazing employees, they will love your company. But for the customers who are unlucky and get the one who hasn’t been trained and doesn’t have the right attitude, to them, that is what every employee is like. That one employee is your brand’s reputation.
For employees to embrace the CEO of the Moment concept, they must first be a good fit for your company. They must be properly trained. And they must be empowered to make good customer-focused decisions. They must understand their awesome responsibility.
So, it comes down to hiring, training, and empowerment. You can’t have two out of three. It’s like a three-legged stool. Take away one of the legs, and the stool falls over.
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