One aspect of the customer experience that is seldom discussed is how employees represent the brand “in uniform,” even when they are not working at the counter or desk.
My wife went to a local bagel franchise last week, and as she was leaving, she noticed an employee of the bagel store in the parking lot digging through her car. The employee’s hair was unwashed, she had a cigarette dangling out of her mouth, and her uniform was dirty, both in general and with cigarette ash.
My wife described her as “looking like she just came off a three day bender.”
As you can imagine, this employee did not do anything to help build the brand of this business. She parked right in front of the store, visible to customer traffic, and between her appearance and the cigarette, she presented an image of someone most people would not want handling their food.
Were expectations such as park around back and don’t smoke in uniform on site ever communicated to this employee? We will never know. However, one thing is certain: whether she was untrained or untrainable, she did damage to that location and that brand on that particular morning.
The Employee Uniform Is Not Literal
What is important is that all businesses have occasions when employees are off the proverbial clock but still “in uniform” representing the brand. Whether it’s how employees should behave at trade show after-parties or govern themselves on social media, expectations about how employees should behave when representing a brand are crucial.
Many times, the customer experience begins when a customer is exposed to a brand through contact with one of the brand’s representatives.
Helping to make sure that experience begins a positive relationship with the brand is crucial in kicking off a customer experience that will separate you from your competition.
Every business needs “in uniform” expectations. Is it clear to your team how they should act when representing your brand?