Being a motor-sports enthusiast, it was a must for me to visit the year’s greatest auto show held in Greater Noida: Auto EXPO 2016. It is always a delight to see all the brands under one roof and compare those showcasing the best of their best.
I have attended couple of previous auto-expos. However, this time there were very few things to be seen as compared to the past few years. So unlike other times, I got an opportunity to observe some very small details about reputed brands that make them more respected and more desired.
Some brands that really stood out this year were BMW, Mercedes, Audi, Mahindra, Dutsun, Suzuki, ISUZU, Yamaha, Triumph, and Indian. Most of these pavilions, irrespective of the brand, were crowded.
Each brand has a perceived value and an image, which stems from our expectation of that particular brand. For example with BMW, Mercedes, and Audi we expect a very high class of refinement, be it in terms of the product, after-sales service, or even the sales representative him or herself.
Some general commonalities amongst the three above-mentioned brands:
- They are all expensive (yes, of course!)
- They guarantee a high-class product
- They guarantee high-class service
- They (employees and associates) feel pride in their work
As already mentioned, all the pavilions were crowded, and yet the BMW, Mercedes, and Audi sections were very well managed. Below are a couple of attributes that made these veteran players stand apart from the others:
In spite of the aggressive ongoing “Swachh Bharat Abhiyan,” the Expo’s visitors didn’t shy away from frequent littering. What is interesting to note is that when most of the pavilions gave up on cleaning again and again, I could still find the BMW and Mercedes staff cleaning their areas by themselves and not waiting for the event management staff to clean up for them. Why were they doing it? Because they really care!
- Product Knowledge:
The staff and associates had complete knowledge about the product and if they were not certain of an answer they checked with a colleague and replied with great respect and passion.
- Body language:
Each and every staff member at the pavilion was well placed and maintained positive body posture while doing their respective jobs. One could just look at them and decide that they are there on their own will and not simply forced to be there. I hardly saw them using their cellphones even when not engaged with a customer (which was the case with other brands).
- Packaging and handouts handover:
Every single poster distributed at the BMW stall was well packaged with the logo and the branding. It caught my attention that when handing merchandise over, the associate made sure that the logo and the branding side of the package was always upright. Now we can debate on a question like, “who notices that?” Well, I did! Similar to me, there might have been many others who also noticed it.
Looking at these top guns of the automobile industry showcasing such excellence, I couldn’t help but compare it to my own industry – the service industry.
In this industry it’s very important for everyone to be ready and prepared before and/or throughout any interaction with the client. This rule of thumb holds good not only during a training program or workshop, but also during each and every interaction with the client, be it pre-program, post-program, at the training venue, or even while walking through the airport. It becomes even more important to be aware of this when people are familiar with you and your company and know you function at a certain standard. People form expectations for every future interaction.
Try and imagine this scene: your favorite motivational speaker, who just gave an awesome talk on mindfulness, starts a fight at the airport over 5 kg of extra baggage that he had to pay for. Would you still believe in what he shared? Maybe not!
Special to the service industry scenario, where there is no product to represent a brand, it becomes even more important that every interaction with a customer should be a representation of the brand that one wants to live and showcase. At the end of the day, we are the brand. Let’s ask ourselves: are we living the brand every moment?