Brand: its your customer service
Your customer service is an expression of your brand (and vice versa) – remember, brand is all about how you’re perceived by your desired customers – so how are you treating your current customers lately? Why? Because it could make or break your brand.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: ‘Marketing will get you customers, great customer service will keep them coming back’. Why spend time and effort building your investment, your hard work on building brand equity only to throw it all away? Customer service is an extension of your brand so if you’re experiencing problems in this area you could be throwing your hard earned marketing dollars (and reputation) out the door without even knowing it. Ask yourself, are your customer-facing touch points such as front of house, customer service desk, or even after-sales calls, all consistent, reflective of and aligned to your brand values? If not, that’s your brand!
Does your customer service and internal code of conduct clearly express your values?
Are you offering exceptional customer service? What does that actually mean?
What does that look like? How do you deliver on this? Are you empowering your staff to fulfill these values or do you still keep your customers on hold, forget or fail to follow up, fail to respond to customer emails and enquiries?
Ultimately are you being brand consistent with your customers? If not, then that’s your brand.
Creating and maintaining good customer service (some would say ‘exceptional’ customer service is the real aim) is a vital yet often overlooked pillar of your business and brand blueprint for growth. People still buy from people, regardless of whether its B2C or B2B.
Never underestimate the power of a loyal customer base! Its your businesses’ life blood.
A lack of follow-up and relationship building leaves customers jaded, disillusioned and disappointed. 54% of customers don’t trust brands because of broken promises – and that bond of trust is broken through negligent behaviour i.e. poor customer service.
Marketers will identify and understand that it’s the ‘middle of the sales funnel’ that is often ignored because its ‘too hard’ to quantify and difficult to measure. Yet there are massive opportunities being missed here to engage and build long-term brand loyalty. Besides, it costs significantly less to engage with already converted customers who trust you. Why continue looking (and spending) to find those elusive new customers? Focus instead on adding value to your current customers to empower them to spread the word through their own network (assuming, of course, that there’s already a good chemistry/relationship established there).
If a customer calls your business following a personal referral and gets caught up in a voicemail trail, if its not clear who they should actually talk to, or they leave a message for someone unsure if it’s the right person, that’s your brand. What’s worse – that’s an even poorer reflection for your referral. That’s brand suicide!
As unintended as it may be, what you’re really saying to your customer is that you don’t really care all that much about them. Invite your customer to an annual awards ceremony and they can’t hear the guest speaker due to the faulty microphone and poor sound system, and that’s a reflection of your brand. You’re really saying you don’t think it’s really important whether they hear what you have to say or not. If the attendant at your checkout counter is too busy admiring his Facebook status and styling his hair, he’s your brand, whether he’s wearing one of your new branded uniforms or not. Behaviour drives perception.
So in future be aware of how you come across to your customers in everyday situations. Is it reflective of your values? Can that interaction be improved or more aligned? Be conscious of how your behaviour and that of your employees can impact on your brand. What might take you 10 years of slow and steady brand building might be taken away in 10 seconds of unintended indiscretions or unconscious insults.
I hope you learned something new, insightful or useful from this blog.
As The Brand Entrepreneur, I believe in helping businesses build a ‘brand blueprint’ for business growth. I do this through a series of workshops designed to help businesses realise and communicate their ‘Why?’ Successful brands in the future care about customers, not branding. I believe that future is now. I’m passionate about creating brand stories & design assets that help brands get ‘in sync’ and connected to customers they care about for serious growth.
Jamie Thomas – The Brand Entrepreneur