March 2018
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Joseph's Blog

Everyone Has a Platform: Are You Training For that Reality? | Service Excellence

As many of you know, Snapchat’s new design has sparked considerable criticism, but a simple tweet by celebrity Kylie Jenner purportedly contributed to a freefall for Snapchat’s stock. Here’s how social media reporter Megan Hills tells it in a Fortune article titled Snapchat’s $1.3 Billion Drop in Value Is Linked to A Kardashian:

The entrepreneur and Kardashian half-sister tweeted to her 24.5 million Twitter followers on Monday, “sooo does anyone else not open Snapchat anymore? Or is it just me…ugh this is so sad.”

With over 300,000 likes and nearly 64,000 comments on her tweet, Snap shares quickly nosedived and dropped to a low of 8% down before climbing back to 6% by the end of trading hours.

While it’s hard to imagine a single tweet by a massive brand influencer could signal traders to sell shares in a stock, Megan makes a compelling case that Snapchat’s market tumble is in fact, a sign of the times.

Everyone has a platform

Granted that the actions of closely watched celebrities have a huge ripple effect on brands, but what about average people like you and me?

For years now, I have been telling my clients that you have to assume “everyone has a platform.”   That may mean the seemingly social media unplugged grandmother you happened to treat poorly really isn’t social media impoverished after all – in fact, she has a huge following of people tracking her craft hobby on Pinterest or she has a family member with a popular blog!

Since, according to the Institute of Customer Service (ICS), most customer complaints (62%) aren’t about products per se but rather about the way people treat customers during service interactions, investing time and money to, select, train and develop service talent creates a huge opportunity.

Investing in service excellence

Let me give you an example, a 2016 article in CIO magazine, chronicled a fireside chat between Home Depot CIO Matt Carey and CIO events editor-in-chief Maryfran Johnson. In that article, Matt Carey discussed Home Depot’s substantial long-term investment designed to “transform the customer experience across all its channels, whether it’s in stores, in a person’s home, online or on a customer’s mobile device.”

The interview between Johnson and Carey:

…also touched on how Home Depot updated its order management system, changed its processes to give associates more time to help customers instead of sitting or standing at a computer, new online and mobile projects and how they recruited millennials away from Google.

The proof is in the human interaction

A couple of years later (last week) I found myself dumbfounded by an experience I had at a Home Depot store. Dumbfounded in amazement!

I was at store #289 approximately 25 minutes before closing and needed a lock rekeyed. Standing ready and waiting to address my need was George Metzler. George advised me that it would take 30 minutes to rekey the lock and cost $5. That time frame would essentially take us right to the closing of the store, but George noted he would do everything in his power to expedite the process.

Moments later George approached me with “bad news”. The tools needed to perform the job had not been returned to the correct place and as such we would not be able to complete the service that evening. George asked if I could leave the lock overnight and said he would rekey the lock personally and at no charge. Letting him know that would be fine, he realized he wasn’t scheduled to work the next day until after 1 p.m. He then said, “While I’m not scheduled to work until late tomorrow you shouldn’t have to wait that long. When would you like to come in?” I assured him that after 1 p.m. would be fine, but he said, “No, I will come in early so I can be sure you receive the lock in a timely manner.” I responded that he didn’t need to make a special trip before work, but his stupefying response follow. The phrase was so catchy that I  literally imagined it to be a book title I might use if I were to ever write a customer experience book about Home Depot. George said, “I would gladly come in early because I DON’T WORK FOR HOME DEPOT. I WORK FOR YOU!”

Who do you and your people work for?

Please indulge me as I repeat George’s words, “I DON’T WORK FOR HOME DEPOT. I WORK FOR YOU!” Suffice it to say, I wanted to steal George from Home Depot and hire him to work for me on behalf of my clients. And here I am leveraging my platform to tell you about George and Home Depot!

George didn’t know I have a regular weekly blog that would give favorable attention to Home Depot. He didn’t know that his actions and service genius would make me even momentarily consider writing a book about his company. All George knew was that he had been selected and developed into a service professional. A professional that would inspire me to attempt to inspire you to enhance service talent on behalf of your brand.

Are you and your people connecting with your customers the way George did with me? What are you doing to train your team on who they work for and how they can even more effectively work for them?

If you are looking for tools to make sure your service is favorably amplified on your customers’ platforms, I would be glad to schedule a 15-minute call to discuss it with you. I suspect that’s what George would do!



Joseph A. Michelli, Ph.D. is a professional speaker and chief experience officer at The Michelli Experience. A New York Times #1 bestselling author, Dr. Michelli and his team consult with some of the world’s best customer experience companies. Follow on Twitter: @josephmichelli

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