When I was growing up in Salt Lake City (Utah) my dad owned his own small business – doing kitchen installations/remodels and selling appliances and other stuff. It was one of the core pieces of who I am today and was very foundational for whyI am so passionate about WORD-OF-MOUTH and ADVOCACY.
I say it started with my dad because he was one of those special people who cared deeply about people – even to his own detriment. The “customer was king” (customers also included employees, partners, distributors, etc.) and he did whatever it took to make them happy and so they would talk about him. This was where I first started to realize just how powerful true “Advocacy” and “Word-of-Mouth” was in business. While he didn’t use these terms to describe what he did, it was exactly what he was creating and building and why people would spread the word about him as “an honest man that you could trust with your business.”
Fast forward for me through some of my positions at IBM, Arthur Andersen, Grant Thornton, Sprint, and my own social media/word-of-mouth strategy consulting business, of WOM10, and this philosophy and approach has always led me to success. (If you want to read my resume and get all the details of roles I have held, please go to my Linkedin Profile and you can get more details over there). I learned through a variety of roles in these organizations what it meant to take care of the customer and what happened when people didn’t. Whether I was in a sales and marketing role, or leading a consulting practice, or providing Strategic Planning for a company, to me the customer was the center of the universe…and it’s still true today.
With this as a backdrop, it led my brother, Gary, and I to write a book on the subject, “Creating and Delivering Totally Awesome Customer Experiences” several years ago because we were both so passionate about how the customer was the center of the universe. Our focus was to show how companies can create “consistent and repeatable” customer experiences that created true differentiation and Loyalty. I think I learned more about customers writing this book than at any other point in my career! It was a labor of love (and lots of late hours for a year) and drew me even closer to this world of Advocacy.
Over the past 5+ years I saw a significant change occurring where the customer was more and more in charge. While it didn’t have a fancy name, today it is called Social Media. It is powerful, game changing, and going to dictate our future. While many are focused on the “cool tools” that are being created, my passion is to help people use these tools to create exponential Word-of-Mouth and Advocacy. In my opinion, these two elements, combined with the reach social media can provide, will create an entirely “NEW ADVOCATE” – one of the future that is smarter about how to use the web and can leverage information and connections to people in a very powerful way. This is my passion and what I continually think about.
I am also a Christian and believe this is part of the journey God has for me – finding new ways to help others get what they want and to develop such great connectedness between individuals where they become Advocates for one another. If I can help people build these deep, respectful, and honoring relationships, I will feel I have been successful using the gifts I have been given.
That’s who I am and why this blog is such a passion for me to write and share ideas, stories, and my latest thinking. People constantly tell me I am “ahead of the curve” in what I think about in this area so please challenge me along the way. Help me help you and we can all pay it forward to others by creating advocates instead of just acquaintances, followers, or other less meaningful relationships. Thank you…
All my best and respect…