I just read this article on BrandChannel about Cisco. The author opines that the company's success is due to its advertising and tag line. Wrong. Sure, advertising helps, but the secrets to Cisco's success are: the products are reliable, their customer support exceeds expectations, and customers are fanatical.
I did some focus groups a couple years ago among IT Directors in 5 major markets. Whenever Cisco was mentioned, almost every group member had a great story to tell. My favorite: one guy's network went down at 3:00 in the morning. His Cisco rep showed up at his office at 3:30 and helped him get it working again. No one in the group had ever had a vendor go the extra mile like that.
Here's what Kirby Drysen, Director, Customer Success Engineering at Cisco, has to say about their customer-centric corporate culture:
At Cisco, we view customer satisfaction as a continuous process rather than a singular event. This process is based on two principles: 1) maintaining a continuous flow of customer feedback, and 2) engaging our field teams and business units in the survey process.
The continuous flow of customer feedback is an ever-present reminder that customer satisfaction is achieved or destroyed with each interaction or customer experience. Rather than wait for an annual satisfaction score, our employees can identify problems almost as soon as they occur and work to resolve the situation quickly. And, access to real-time information promotes accountability rather than excuses for why the customer complaint was not resolved.
By involving those who work with our customers in the survey process, we ensure the questions we ask customers are relevant and actionable. In turn, this drives a strong sense of personal ownership among our field teams and business units to take action on the information, and allows us to maintain constant energy for driving customer satisfaction.
With a culture like that, advertising is secondary. Is it any wonder that they maintain 42% market share in networking products? Cisco is a great case study of brand rule #1: build a strong customer-centric brand and sales will follow.