Do you have my back?
Loyalty. Kindness. Doing the right thing. What do those things even mean today? In our fast paced, profit obsessed world, this notion of having your friends’, employees’ bosses’ or customer’s back seems to have gotten forgotten. The faster we move, the more acts of kindness and doing the right thing in general seem to standout. Feeling like someone has your back makes it much easier to go that extra mile or spend a few extra dollars too if we are talking about our brand friends.
It takes a few simple steps to put some weight and meaning behind the phrase, but knowing someone has your break makes you more likely to trust them, work for them, buy from them and continue engaging in any kind of relationship. After all, we’re in the relationship business one way or the other, so these three anecdotes are good reminders that having someone’s back pays large dividends.
- Actions speak louder than words: I purchased a product from SleepNumber, a company that is supposed to be known for being top of the line and that provides an overall superior experience. It’s not supposed to be just a bed, but instead a whole experience of awesome, from the delivery to the first night’s sleep. While I was really excited for my experience, it fell flat, very flat and I was left so disappointed and questioning my major purchasing decision. Before madly ranting on social media, I wanted to see if the company was going to do something about the situation. The follow up made me regain the faith in the product and what they stood for simply because they took time to hear me, and I mean really hear me and listen. I felt like my issue was the center of their universe and on top of fixing it, they also threw in some free product and offered follow ups to ensure I was happy, months after the initial purchase. We’ve all heard the stories of the Nordstrom’s of the world, and stories of superior customer service…and we need to retell them, because this kind of thing really matters. Backing up what your brand stands for by actually following through is the only kind of metric. There is no communication strategy, PR, marketing or gimmick that can help a brand that just talks but doesn’t follow through. Have my back, and I’ll buy from you, and maybe even tell my friends about it.
- Never underestimate the power of a kind word at the right time: Going through health issues, especially ones that affect your work performance is never fun, especially in the complicated dynamic of our work ecosystems. Something of that nature happened to me, and it was terrifying, confusing, uncomfortable and every other scary feeling you can think of. The power of a group mentors having my back by not making me not feel bad and offering words of encouragement made a world of difference. When I worked for the Air Force, we often talked about this notion of being each other’s Wingmen, never leaving a battle buddy behind. I come back to this concept often and think it is one worth replicating. What can sometimes feel like trenches of our 9-5’s, having some’s back really does matter. Not only do you ensure returned loyalty, but it’s good to know someone would go into battle for you, just makes you want to work that much harder and foster that relationship. Compassion, it’s a real thing.
- Develop a reputation for doing the right thing: Remember that quote, do the right thing even when nobody’s watching? Great employees, leaders, brands, know this and most often don’t expect any kind of kudos or pat on the back, they just do it because they know it’s the right thing to do. They’ve developed that reputation and you just know you won’t be let down by them. Repeated behavior, time tested and always the same outcome, that’s called habit and as a person or a brand you want to have that reputation for doing the right thing. We all have these people and brands in our lives, we just seem to remember and think of them when we get burnt by a bad experience. To all those who have my back, thank you, I am going to appreciate you during both the good and the bad because you deserve it and make a big difference.