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What do you get when you mix Krulak’s Law, company reputation, and investing in your frontline employees?  A great experience cocktail.  Let me explain…..

I recently went on a rant about being the expert in your field to vent my frustration with organizations putting the expertise on the customer.  This led to a conversation with a friend about the lack of investment organization’s make into the training and upskilling of employees, especially frontline employees, that often interact with the customers the most.  Today, 3 days after that conversation, I open my email to see Seth Godin’s blog reads ‘Krulak’s Law.  The experience people have with your brand is in the hands of the person you pay the least.’

I am taking it as a sign to write on this topic.

Who’s Krulak and what’s his law?

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Well, I had to look that up after reading the email.   Apparently, Krulak is Charles C. Krulak, USMC, and a retired Marine Corps. General.  According to brandminds.ro, in 1999, General Krulak published an article in Marine Magazine entitled The Strategic Corporal: Leadership in the Three-Block War.  It was in this article that he shared to conduct their missions to positive results, the need arises for a new kind of military – the strategic corporal. Krulak defines strategic corporal as low-level unit leaders able to take independent action and make major decisions.

Should I be surprised that his teachings have been met with some controversy?  I can’t think of much that isn’t.  Modern War Institute’s Franklin Annis revisited Krulak in February of this year.  In the article, KRULAK REVISITED: THE THREE-BLOCK WAR, STRATEGIC CORPORALS, AND THE FUTURE BATTLEFIELD, Annis shares Krulak’s intent and how it’s been misunderstood.

However, in the end, I think it’s hard to argue against developing your frontline by equipping your team with the knowledge and know how to deliver a great experience.

Invest in your team as if your company reputation is on the line because it is.

Why company reputation matters

Everyone has a platform today.  My 71-year-old mother can share her experience as easily as my 18-year-old daughter can.  Everyone has a camera, video, and audio recorder.  And… everyone has an opinion and a story to tell.  It is extremely easy for the company reputation to go from good to bad overnight.   While this is true, we continue to see brand after brand act surprised when they are on the evening news.

What do you do before you go to a new restaurant?  If you’re like me, you look up the reviews.  I want to read about how other customer’s feel about the food, atmosphere, and service.  If your company has a 2- or 3-star review, you can forget about me taking a chance on it. 

What does a bad company reputation cost?   

That is hard to calculate.  The restaurant with the 3-star review will never know I will not be eating there.  However, we do know that when big brands make the news for bad deeds, the company reputation takes an immediate dive and so does their revenue.  

Do you remember the guy being dragged off a United Airlines flight? Almost immediately the stock price dropped 4%.  They continue to rank towards the bottom for customer service.

What about Wells Fargo’s account scandals back in 2016?  Yet, years later Wells Fargo is still spending millions of dollars winning back its customers and improving their company reputation. 

Cutting off your cable should be easy, right? Well that depends on who you call.

Brands cannot hide. Company reputation is in the hands of your frontline workers. Likewise, customers have the brand reputation in their hands too. With a click of a button, your frontline employees are on Youtube, Twitter, Facebook, and everywhere else.

In summary, organizations are in control of their reputation by who they hire and how they train them.  It’s easy today to roll down the mountain of ‘Mount Greatness to Garbage’ and rest assured it’s a steep, long climb back to the top. 

About the author – Lauralee Hites

After nearly 20 years in corporate America, I decided to serve the world in a new way. Today, I operate a boutique consulting firm that specializes in Strategy and Management Consulting. Connect with me on LinkedIn.

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