After waiting on hold for 10 minutes to speak with a customer service representative about a personal invoice I received recently, I was greeted by someone who clearly did not want to be on the other end of the phone. When I said I didn’t appreciate his condescending tone, he said, “Well, I can stop talking.”

I wondered in that moment if his employer realized the organization’s integrity was being compromised by someone it was actually paying to interact with consumers like me (who will now associate that frustrating experience with the organization’s brand).

Luckily, innumerable customer service folks have shown consideration (and compassion) as representatives of their larger brand’s integrity. I’m sure it’s been exhausting during sensitive or tough conversations, too.  But building bridges with consumers certainly fuels word-of-mouth promotion and strengthens brand loyalty.

Two examples: There’s a heart-warming anecdote about a Zappo’s employee sending flowers to a customer struck by tragedy — after the customer asked for refund.  As the text mentions, the recipient of Zappo’s sympathies became a vocal proponent.  A patient Southwest employee gave me a voucher equivalent to the cost of my flight — after she explained that, even though I spent six hours in the air between Baltimore and Cleveland before being diverted to Columbus, they don’t reimburse flights disrupted by weather.  I’ve only flown Southwest since then, as have two of my friends impressed by my tale.

These examples of individuals representing their brands so positively truly inspire me. They only further my commitment to represent Tellenger with unwavering integrity and respect, and in doing so, to help myself and my brand to grow and thrive.