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Affordances & Rituals in the workplace Pt2

Posted 19th April 2016 | Category: CustomerExperience

Brand rituals make the lives of employees and customers richer

Rituals have the potential to tap into the values of the organisation in meaningful ways to make employees feel part of something special. Flexible working hours, perks and benefits can be helpful to make the culture more attractive but valued rituals that build on the core essence of the company brand values can drive engagement in ways that are directly related to on-the-job performance.

For rituals to be meaningful to employees, they need to be relevant to their specific role and enhance communication and bonding within the organisation around what the brand stands for.

Many employee rituals focus on how to work together to improve performance. In some large organisations, town hall meetings and regular video conference calls are used to manage and link performance across a global footprint. In other organisations, data dashboards, analytics and KPIs become embedded as rituals to the manage financials, quality, service and the customer experience.

If rituals can be used to enhance interactions between employees and customers, this can be a really powerful way to create positive meaning and purpose; employees are empowered to make a difference to customers' lives.

Some brand rituals tap into psychology, motivational science and cultural dynamics to bring the human interactions to life with a personal touch:

Some brand rituals tap into psychology, motivational science and cultural dynamics to bring the human interactions to life with a personal touch:

  • Saying "have a nice day" is a brand ritual that McDonald's employees have used for years to connect with their customers in a positive way
  • Starbucks employees write the names of customers on their cups to personalise the interaction
  • Metro Bank has a "no stupid rules" policy, and you have to receive permission from your manager to say no to a customer
  • If you call First Direct you will speak directly to someone friendly who will assist you with your call, there is no IVR system
  • The All Blacks rugby team perform The Haka to strike fear in their opponents, excite the crowd and to express their allegiance to the culture, values and heritage of the team
  • At The Savoy, a five star hotel, storytelling enables the staff to bring a touch of theatre to the guest experience that connects them with the history and culture of the hotel property.

These rituals are alive with personality, differentiate the culture and are an engagement win-win-win for employees/ team members, customers/ fans and the brand experience

Negative rituals also exist and can be a headache for employees. The complaints process and queuing are negative rituals that require special attention to win customers over. In some cases pain can be minimised by turning these rituals into designing out these negative interactions with better affordances.

In the insurance, telecoms and utilities sectors, where customer experiences can be particularly weak, there is a need to find more innovative ways for employees to understand and connect with customers, this improves the customer experience but also makes the role of serving customers more meaningful to employees. This is particularly true in the call centre environment, where negative rituals can often be designed out of the brand experience with better affordances, and front-line staff should be empowered to make a difference to customers' lives.

Use of affordances and rituals are two valuable ways through which employees can become more effective and empowered. A culture based on greater empathy for employees and customers can create a virtuous circle that benefits brand engagement.

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1st May 2017

Thank you for the suggestion, Vanessa! I'm partial to this theme, but I will keep a look out for any magazine themes that call out. There is definitely no shortage of themes out there that showcase both photos and written content.