Recently I was lucky enough to attend a presentation by Sharon Pearson, CEO of The Coaching Institute. One of the concepts that Sharon shared in her talk that really resonated with me was the concept of ‘bragging rights’.

As human beings we like to tell stories. It helps us connect with others. What Sharon was referring to was when we experience something that was either so good or so bad that it gives us the opportunity to tell a story (brag) to our friends, loved ones, associates, etc. about it.

She went on to discuss that if you are providing good products/services then really that is what the market expects and by doing so you don’t give your customers any bragging rights.

However, if you do more than is expected or a lot less than is expected then your customers will have a story that they can share with others.

This resonated with me. I love sharing stories about great customer service and also really bad customer service, but as I reflected on her concept I realized that it was true, if the product or service were good, then I rarely shared that with anyone.

So as leaders we need to consider the ‘bragging rights’ our people are providing to our customers.

Here is an example of bragging rights, in this case a story of poor customer service.

On a flight last year I had the unfortunate experience of having a stewardess that was much more interested in the football team who were down the back of the plane than she was on serving the rest of her customers. Not only did she take more than forty minutes to respond to the call bell but when she did she whined about how much work she had to do.

A little while later the man next to me used the call button to ask for a blanket, as the cabin temperature was freezing. When she finally answered his call, she returned a few minutes later with a blanket that was not in a plastic bag. When he put it over himself we both realized why it wasn’t in a plastic bag (like they normally come in). It smelled of vomit. She offered no apologies on that either.

This flight was so bad I actually took the time to give feedback because normally that airline is quite good. I received a standard response that was as bad as the service I had received. I often share this story in customer service training as what not to do. That airline gave me something to brag about.

So think about what customer experience are you and your teams providing. Are they providing opportunities for positive bragging rights or is what you are doing just good?

As we all know happy, empowered staff are more likely to provide wow experiences for customers so it makes sense to start by wowing your staff.

Then discuss the concept of ‘bragging rights’ with them. We did this in a recent customer service workshop. The staff came up with some excellent ways to wow their customers. Most of their suggestions were either free or very low cost for the organization.

Then empower your staff to provide the service and experience for your customers that will wow them and give them bragging rights.

For example, one person I know runs an online business that provides products to people who dance. To stand out they wrap their products in brightly coloured scarves and include a hand written thank you note.

Yes it does cost a little bit more in terms of money and time but this business is not only highly successful but has a lot of customers who share their stories with other people so that most of their marketing is done by their customers who are raving fans.

So why not take some time to talk to your staff and customers to come up with some strategies to provide them with positive ‘bragging rights’.

Also we would love to hear your best or worst experience in terms of bragging rights. Please share them below.

Until next time, be extraordinary.


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