I'm not much of a handy person. I can hardly switch a lightbulb (it's actually kinda sad), let alone fix a serious problem. There was a plumbing issue in the house tonight, so we did a quick jet over to the nearest Home Depot. As we were gathering up the parts needed, we managed to flag down a store associate to help us. Let's frame this first with two pillars of the Home Depot brand. The first is their tagline: You Can Do It. We Can Help. The second is what it says on every employee's uniform in the store (which is an apron) - it reads: Hi, I'm (fill in a first name here). I Put Customers First.
It takes some big brass faucets to wear an apron like that and be as indignant to all life matters in your near-vicinity as our associate was. He actually told a customer that he could not help them as he was busy sweeping up something. When we went over to ask him a question, he did not even take his eyes off of the merchandise he was re-stocking to look at us. I would say this Home Depot associate was rude, but I think he would have actually had to make some form of direct eye contact with us to make that kind of judgment call.
So this is another customer service rant? Hardly.
I picked up the book Citizen Marketers this afternoon. It is written by Ben McConnell and Jackie Huba from the infamous Blog, Church Of The Customer. It got me thinking that as much as individuals are marketing on behalf of our brands, what are we doing - as marketers - to make sure that our employees are truly living the brand? Our best shot at Citizen Marketers is to make sure that our immediate circle of influence does, indeed, breathe the brand. There are probably hundreds of people waxing poetic about great experiences they had at Home Depot. But, as long as people like Mr. "Hi, I'm (fill in a first name here). I Put Customers First," are not living the brand, it makes the second pixel of separation (namely the Citizen Marketer) that much harder to empower.