Why don’t we talk more about people?

All of the best customer experiences I’ve had recently involve product I wanted to buy, an easy-enough way to purchase it, and pricing I could justify. But the differentiator was the people behind it all. 

The knowledgeable server who exuded enthusiasm for the menu items he suggested with just the right amount of authenticity as he shared facts about the restaurant.

The friendly, non-robotic-sounding human at a DTC brand who replied to my e-mail requesting a return label (albeit that’s an annoying returns process).

The store worker who told me I should feel free to order the apparel item I was considering online and pointed out I’d save on the sales tax since I live in a state other than that of the company’s singular store.

Or the one who apologized her store didn’t sell the hair elastic I was dying for and offered me a rubber band from the POS drawer.  

Or the many people who work in beauty or tech stores and know more about the product than they were required to learn and have effective, non-pushy ways of selling me on what I didn’t know I needed. 

As distribution and logistics become frictionless and product choices abound in every category, brand - of course - will continue to be a meaningful differentiator. Investors are putting money into smart brands for this reason and larger companies are scooping up smaller ones doing brand well. 

But what I’m most excited about are the companies who can hire, train, cultivate, retain - and scale - a workforce that creates memorable customer experiences.