Have you ever been to a retail store, restaurant, or other public customer service environment in which the message and values of the establishment are completely translated and promoted, regardless of what town you’re in, or with which employee you’re interacting? The first place that comes to mind is Chick-Fil-A.
Companies like Chick-Fil-A have created a company culture that promotes “Customers First, Personal Excellence, Continuous Improvement, Working Together, and Stewardship,” (taken from an actual Team Member job posting online!). You feel that when you walk into a Chick-Fil-A, don’t you? Regardless of the town or state, our experiences with this place have been consistent, and we feel that primarily from the employees we interact with when we order, receive our food, or otherwise engage with them. How do they do it? Southwest Airlines is similar. They have created a company culture that trickles down from the top to each employee, who all represent their brand incredibly well.
Ultimately, this boils down to consistently communicating your brand values to your employees, and understanding that companies that are incredibly successful at doing so have done it on purpose. Forbes magazine says calls this a distinct culture, blended with a bold set of values that everyone involved in the company knows. The employees are encouraged to be themselves at work, but are also expected to represent the brand's values. Additionally, companies that are successful consider how they motivate and reward employees. How do you do at this? Do you consistently communicate to them that they are a vital part of the overall success of your dealership? If your employees are largely disengaged from their jobs, you should take note. Communicate your why to your employees, and use stories of relevance to do so if possible.
Facilitate a culture that encourages kindness and positive feedback among employees, and do it by modeling consideration first. Examine your own management style. Do you believe that the best way of motivating your employees is by “cracking the whip”, applying pressure or strong-arming your employees? Are your largely unaware of how your management style impacts the overall culture of your dealership? The reality is that motivating employees has more to do with relational connecting than a militant style of leadership. And because poor leadership is high on the list of reasons for individuals to leave their jobs, it’s worth considering. Conversely, consider ways you can meaningfully contribute to your employees’ professional (and personal) development by providing mentoring or leadership opportunities.
We could go on and on when it comes to the development of your employees, but much of it might be beyond the scope of this blog’s topic (perhaps a future blog series?!). What you need to know is that it contributes greatly to the success of communicating a strong dealership brand message to your customers, particularly when cultivating brand loyalty--which is a challenge in our industry. We’ll discuss loyalty in depth more during our next blog post of this series.