President George W. Bush claimed credit for winning a war only just begun and Vice President Al Gore once famously claimed credit for inventing the internet.   Probably a good idea to do some fact-checking before opening one’s mouth, but claiming credit itself isn’t wrong.

In a previous post I wrote that claiming credit was an optional step in customer communications.  But it would have been more accurate to say that claiming credit is natural step as a company evolves.

At the start of a customer experience journey you may spend all your energy investing in delivering basic service.  At that juncture, claiming credit may well be an afterthought.  However, as Andy Sernovitz reminds us in a thought-provoking post, claiming credit helps change the WOM (word of mouth) dynamic.

Focusing on strengths and victories can also invigorate an entire ecosystem.

  • Employees – Imagine what a positive charge your customer service team would experience if they were reminded of happy customers.  It’s as basic as positive reinforcement vs. negative.  Positive momentum includes every department in the company.  Human Resources?  Sure.  It makes it easier to attract great talent.
  • Shareholders – Institutional and individual investors alike want to know that your company is doing things well and impressing customers.  First person testimonials are worth sharing!
  • Prospects and Customers – People want to be associated with success.  Positive WOM helps de-risk buying decisions and validate good choices.  Negative WOM gets out one way or another.

Now consider 2 alternatives to positive WOM:  silence OR negative press.  Neither is going to boost share price, energize employees or add loyal customers.

So I stand corrected, the pivot point is to make the most of your wins.  Make sure you’ve accomplished the mission… and then say so.  It’s important to point out your good work and to thank customers.  It is even more important to let your prospects, employees, and shareholders know the same thing.

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