When business owners come to How to Build a Brand for branding advice, there’s almost no limit to the amount of subjects we could cover. There’s colour, logos, reputation, visibility, awareness, recognition…the list goes on and on.
However, there is definitely a hierarchy of important points, and that list is led by those principles that permeate and dominate every aspect of brand building.
They’re the standards that, if adhered to, will improve every facet of business…then overflow and trickle down to every operation and process.
Profit relies on these primary business principles—and that translates to the ultimate fate of any business. Where there is no profit, there is no business.
And so, today we’re talking about what we consider to be the number-one, undisputed standard that affects every other branding aspect, and we’re packaging it as branding advice, because that’s what it is: advice to make your brand more visible, credible and therefore profitable.
That thing is exemplary customer service, and you’re about to find out not only why it’s so important, but what can happen when it’s overlooked.
Customer Service: What the Good and Bad will do to your Brand
Customer Service is something that can be easy to overlook in today’s business culture.
We communicate digitally, we take orders via eCommerce, and because we rarely speak to people in-person, we overlook the importance of meaningful human interaction.
However, if your brand is the one that pays special attention to the need for that interaction (which really is customer service at its core), then you’ll not only stand out from the competition, you will forge loyal, lifelong brand relationships with your ideal customers.
I know you want to have the best product, the fastest delivery, the most exciting brand experience…and all that’s important. But without customer service, you’ve got nothing. At the end of the day, consumers don’t really care about the intrinsic quality of a product. What they do care about is how the brand makes them feel, how cool or included they feel, or what other benefits come about as a result of that purchase…and top-notch customer service ticks all those boxes.
Great customer service magnifies the effect of every marketing strategy, every new product, every touchpoint and so much more.
And now for the flipside of the subject: What happens to a brand when customer service is lacking:
- Bad Word-of-Mouth: I think we all know that a dissatisfied customer is far more likely to post a negative review than a satisfied customer is to post a positive one. When customer service is poor, your customers will want to vent…even get revenge by defiling your brand name. Avoid this situation, which comes with serious, long-term consequences, by keeping your brand’s level of customer service as high as your word-of-mouth expectations.
- Lack of Loyal Customers: When your customer service is lacking, it’s easier to convince new clients that you have great customer service than it is to keep existing clients who know the truth. And that’s all backwards. It should be simpler (and far more cost-effective) to retain existing customers. Acquiring new ones, who will probably only buy once, is expensive, time-consuming, reputation-busting and will end with the demise of your brand.
- Poor Team Performance and Retention: I have seen power teams that specialise in high-calibre customer service work together with brand spirit and high energy. I have also seen teams that haven’t been taught about the value of customer service get frustrated and buckle under the weight of complaints and negativity. When your team is customer-focussed, every aspect of their work experience is better.
And those are just a few examples of what poor customer service can cost your brand. I don’t care how great your product is, or how life-changing your service is…you can’t afford that.
So what can you do to ensure that your brand’s customer service is top-notch? Or to start turning around your reputation for less-than-stellar customer service?
- A Customer-First Mindset: No, the customer isn’t always right; however, he or she does deserve to be heard.
- Individual Attention: You have an ideal customer profile, and your customers all have some qualities in common. That doesn’t mean that every one of them will need the same things at the same time.
- Custom Communications: How do your customers prefer to communicate with your brand? Make that your primary communication channel.
- Opinions that Matter: What do your customers think of your latest product? What would they like to see at your upcoming event? Ask them. They’ll not only get what they want, they’ll feel important to your brand culture and repay you with their patronage.
- Feelings that Count: How did your customers feel before they found your brand? And how do they feel after their first purchase…and their thirtieth purchase? Knowing the answers to these types of questions means that you’re building relationships based on empathy, which is the root of all customer service.
- Unconditional Gratefulness: This is the idea that even criticism is a gift, and that your brand’s team should always express thankfulness, even when things don’t go as planned.
Start with those things and then learn to build on that customer-centric foundation with customer service tips that are even more focussed and specific to your brand. How? Join the Brand Builders Club, where motivated business owners and entrepreneurs are learning to build their purpose-driven brands…from international branding and marketing experts. You can give a members day a test drive with your own V.I.P. Backstage Pass. Get yours today!