Making the Old New Again: Building a Business Tribe


Welcome to the club!

I joined the ‘Dollar Shave Club’ recently.
Great razors.
But really, a club?
I need to ‘meet the team’ and the other members to shave in the morning?

The ‘club’ idea comes from an older marketing trend that focuses on bringing consumers into a ‘Tribe’.
A club.
Where our identity is tied to a product or service.

It taps into a fundamental human need.
To have a place of belonging.
A place where we are known and accepted.
An identity affirmed by others in the club.

A powerful idea.
A powerful starting point in building teams.

An old marketing idea with a new application

What could be more unstoppable than a group of people brought together through a higher calling?

With a mission.
A purpose.

As if the universe itself conspired to bring them to a certain point.
As if destiny demands of them, this service.

Maybe this tribe is a football team or a group of researchers.
A not-for-profit or a customer support team.

For successful business we need such environments where people are brought into a way to life, not just wear the t-shirt.
Where what we do comes from our understanding of who we are.

A holistic approach.
A community.
An environment.

Where people have ongoing connection to shared vision, attitudes, values and purpose.
With this in place, you don’t need to worry about who leaves the office early.
Or who doesn’t stay late.

If they are part of the tribe, they will be part of your success.

Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful committed citizens can change the world.
It’s the only thing that ever has.

Stephen M Dick
Customer Support leader, team builder, process designer.

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Wow, I’ve Never Seen That Before.


My brother received this email from Apple support recently.
‘Wow!’ was my initial reaction.
‘It’s a bit over the top’

As an Irish native who moved to the USA, it got me thinking about aspects of customer support executed well in the US and that still need to be transitioned over into European business.

Wow! support vs Customer Support

What if your customer support had this ‘wow!’ affect?
Likely your business has some form of customer support, whether it is logistics, hardware, software or retail.
Many tend to be slow.
Trapped in red tape.
Quick to say no.
Volume driven.

That can push your customers away and sometimes leave them open to trying out a competitor.

Wow! support is critical to business success.
Here’s why:

1. Wow! support both obtains new customers while retaining existing ones

Building a customer base is important.
Retaining existing customers is equally important.

Not understanding this balance is one of the biggest factors in business failure for SMEs and has been written about a lot (here for example).

Think of repeat purchase.
Word of mouth advertising.
Brand recognition.
Maintenance protection.

This can all be achieved through outstanding customer support, wow! support.

2. Word of mouth builds your brand

My brother sent that email from Apple to his friends and family.
Free marketing.

It left a lasting impression and stuck with me since.

What if your customer support organization built a reputation for being ‘wow!’?
Where your emails were sent laudably to friends and family.
Where scores of blogs were written by happy customers.

Where ‘wow!’ was seen as the defining trait of your company, brand, reputation.

3. Wow! support is mission critical

Your product doesn’t have to be ‘Mission Critical’ or central to your customer’s business for you to build a support strategy that is mission critical to your business.
In fact, I propose your bottom line depends on it.

What if your support strategy went to the next level: Proactive support.
Where customer problems were solved before they became problems.

A system that identifies consumer pain points and changed the way product was developed based on consumer feedback.
That produced literature and best practices to enable buyers to get the most out their new purchase.

Unparalleled possibility starts with Wow! support.

4. Wow! support is revenue generating

Repeat purchase.
Your life will likely be as filled with anecdotal evidence as mine.

Years ago as a student with little disposable income, I bought a set of Shure headphones, I had saved for months while working in a bike shop.

Their noise isolating effect was years before it’s time. But they were broken before their time too, by my niece, accidentally .
Shure customer support (in the US) replaced the cables free of charge, well outside of warranty.

I’ve been buying Shure products ever since. bose and sennheiser don’t even get capitalized in this sentence, I know if something happens to my headphones, the response from Shure will be quick and pragmatic.
I don’t need to worry so much.

How do you Build ‘Wow’ support?

It starts with a decision to intentionally build customer support that will stand out, goes against the grain, defy ‘business logic’ and ensure customer needs are exceeded, rather than merely met.

Then a team is built around that idea.

I have some thoughts and starting points over here.

Stephen M Dick
Customer Support leader, team builder, process designer.

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Host, don’t participate.


This is one of the most common questions asked as we get older:

“Did my presence in those circumstances make a difference?’

Last year I had the pleasure of working with Roz, an executive coach. What stuck with me since was the idea of bringing a ‘host’ mentality into almost every area of our lives. A small change in mindset with a big potential impact to the world around us.

Most of us have been to some type of training.

Or a conference.

A ‘big game’ party.

Or a fundraising dinner.

Usually we come to these events expecting to get something.

To be better educated.

Or better connected.

To have fun.

Or raise more funding.

When we come expecting to take or get, we come as a participant. After all, it’s the trainer that will be hosting a seminar, right? The conference organizers receiving and connecting with attendees. The party host making sure everyone is comfortable and included. The fundraisers job to educate and impart their vision.

Or is it?

What if you came to these situations as if it were your responsibility to act as a ‘host’? A host mentality.

Not a subservient position, where you view yourself as less than the others, but a position of confidence, looking beyond yourself to see how you can positively impact the experience of those around you.

Looking for the value add. Considering others comfort and ease. Looking after others, being there for their benefit, not yours.

Introducing and connecting trainees.

Talking to, connecting with and making sure everyone is comfortable at that conference. Especially those that look a little intimidated.

Checking that everyone has a drink as you go to get your next one.

Making sure those in your environment have a positive experience because of your presence, your actions.

What if this idea applied to your clients, co-workers, managers, family, friends? That small, fundamental change in how we see the world, could change the way the world goes round.

We are a people of great works and even greater possibilities.

Stephen M Dick
Customer Support leader, team builder, process designer.

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