5 Ways to Develop Your Brand Through Customer Service
By Frances Zhang
Most technology today is ultimately non-differentiable, making it really difficult to compete on features alone.
Where does that leave us?
Branding. Your brand is simply how your customers talk about you. Sure, your colors, website, messaging matter, but if you fail to align your organization’s story with your actions, even the best logo in the world won’t save you.
Your interactions with your customers directly affects what your customers will say about you, and in turn, will influence their perception of your service brand. Delivering a happy customer experience is easy in concept, but difficult in practice.
Let’s look at 5 ways on how to do it:
1. Make your digital customer experience a key differentiator
For those of us who have grown up in an app-ified, Amazon-driven universe, we simply expect technology to work. To avoid becoming obsolete, leverage today’s ecosystem of websites, mobile apps and social communities, with real-time insight, and fit all of these components into the lives of your highly-connected customers. Because your customers expect to interact with you via many different digital touch points, their successes are shaped and determined by how well you’re able to map and understand the evolution of customer behavior (Customer transformation from users to creators, higher and speedier demands from every type of experience, data-driven personalization of interactions, for example).
2. Give them a voice
Your customers expect to be acknowledged. Companies who are scrupulous about giving their customers the voice they need are the most successful ones. No need to become an Amazon or Yelp of the world where customer ratings for all products and services are displayed, but you do need to enforce transparency of some kind. Collect the feedback you need, though it may be uncomfortable at times, because it’s the only way to document the value of your engagement with a customer. Soliciting honest feedback allows you to fully acknowledge when you’ve failed to meet the customer’s expectations, instill the curiosity to get better, and drive the the practice of improving your service delivery every day. Using GetFeedback to create elegant surveys and Influitive’s VIP customer communities to give advocates the recognition they need, both help to create a positive impression for your brand.
3. Help your customers help themselves
A recent Forrester survey highlighted that web self-service is the most common mode customers use for support, exceeding the use of the phone for the first time. What does this mean? Your customers will continue to demand seamless interactions via web and mobile self-service channels, with access to the right content. A no fuss, self-empowered channel to solve a problem is still regarded as the most friendly and efficient way to accomplish this. If self-help falls short of resolution, you need to have an automated assistant software or chat technology as a safety net.
4. Make your vision very VERY clear
Provide your service team with well-defined standards of giving great support, and empower everyone to truly make service a priority. Make it very clear what your company’s purpose is, how your service standards support it, the emotional response you’re aiming to elicit, and any guidelines your support agents should follow. Make sure that this vision is carried through every job role and pervades the individual actions and tasks undertaken by your employees. Then, get in the trenches. Make customer service everyone’s job. Get everyone’s hands dirty. Including the CEO’s. In fact, leadership should set the tone of why your company reflects a brand that genuinely cares about your customers.
5. Instill a feeling of home
Build a home by building loyalty. Give your customers the recognition they deserve by acknowledging their concerns, wow’ing them with speed and efficiency, practicing patience and empathy, and welcoming them into your services. Whether it’s engaging your customers through social campaigns and communities, staying in touch with them as you do with friends, or practicing a family-based mantra in your company, any style of putting humanity back into your service will allow you to better play the perfect host.The customers who come back again and again do so in the presence of an environment that “feels like home” to them. Let’s face it: the social, and highly personal world in which we live in today is not conducive to the kind of cloud-based, automated business model deficient of the warmth and fuzziness that being at home brings.
Originally published on the award-winning Desk.com Blog.