I was at a conference on the weekend. It started on what was for me the third day of business travel. I was tired but looking forward to getting some new insight into how to keep motivated. About halfway through a three-hour workshop I realized that I was getting nothing from the lecture. In fact, the more time I spent in the room the more demotivated I felt. Talk about unanticipated outcomes. It wasn’t that the speaker wasn’t engaging. She was actually great and quite funny, but her material was dated. You’d have to move well beyond talking about S.M.A.R.T goal setting if you want to keep my attention. My table-mates were also uninspiring. They too thought her material was old, but they also had a tone. There was an underlying unpleasantness towards each other and their missing colleagues. It was disrespectful at best and openly derogatory at other times. Made me glad I didn’t work with them.
I made a note to avoid any other lectures from the presenter and I left the session. It was one of the best decisions I could have made. I ended up in a conflict resolution lecture instead. I’ve rarely laughed so hard. It was clever, insightful and I can say without a doubt, conflict has never felt so good. The rest of my day unfolded in a pleasant fashion, but as I was reflecting on the morning’s adventures I couldn’t help wondering about how attitudes, our own, those of service providers and even other customers influence and effect how we perceive brands.
While I was waiting for the conflict resolution lecture to start the woman ahead of me in line gave me a big smile and my own happy disposition reasserted itself. The woman turned out to be the lecturer. Given her smile, I felt confident she’d bring the right attitude to the lecture. She didn’t let me down. It reminded me of a study I read on the effects of greetings on shoppers, no not the typical Wal-Mart greeting, but a real greeting, like, “Hi, is it still raining out?” for mall shoppers. The study indicated that shoppers are more likely to report a positive experience from their shopping trip if they are greeted and told goodbye. So although they may have a neutral journey through your store, the emotion they experience coming and going will dictate their impressions.
Of course the customer’s attitude before they enter a store or a website will also influence their experience. Had I been in a cranky mood when I started the first lecture, I doubt I would have lasted 15 minutes. I also wondered about the experience of customers going into the store of my workshop tablemates. I couldn’t help but think that their office dynamics would make for an unpleasant experience.
So many elements are at play when a brand is being experienced that we constantly have to ask ourselves, what am I’m doing contribute to my brand? Even when we are being vigilant we can get into trouble. On my way home I was standing at airport security waiting to be scanned when one of the security personnel walked up to her colleague and reprimanded him for complaining about something in front of passengers. I wonder what she thought her reprimand in front of me was doing for customer relations? Marketing attitude is something we have to be thinking about all the time. Marketing the wrong attitude can have such a lasting impression, that no matter how good the product, people will be reluctant to engage. The same can be said about marketing the right attitude; it can carry you through even the most unforgiving lapses.
Have you had an unpleasant experience work out because the attitude was right or perhaps the reverse is true? Have you had any great experiences that came as a result of great attitude more than great product?
Image courtesy of Stuart Miles and FreeDigitalPhoto.net