Have you ever walked into a store unsure of what you’re looking for and gotten help from each person you came across? If you have, you’ve probably left the store feeling relieved not just because you got what you were looking for but because the people inside took care of you. You may have even told people or posted about your experience online. The service you were provided made you want to speak out about the company and the people you encountered along the way, ultimately generating positive feedback for them and strengthening their brand.
Excellent customer service makes people want to talk about your brand. It’s free marketing!
Think about it for a moment.
Every major brand has a recognizable face that people attach to their brand. With Marvel Studios, it is Robert Downey Jr, Chris Evans, and many of the actors they have cast as the various heroes in their movies. With restaurant chains like Wendy’s or Denny’s, it's their customer service on social media, interacting with the members of their audience, commenting on what they post. For others, such as the southern-based grocery store Publix or Chick-Fil-A, they are known by the faces you see behind registers as you check out or the faces behind a counter as they order food.
The one aspect all of these faces have in common is how they treat people. In the case of the actors, it is in how they conduct themselves online through social media and how they present themselves in public. It is also seen in the charity works they participate in, particularly the visits to children’s hospitals throughout the nation to sit and talk with the kids and lift their spirits while they’re going through their treatments. Their behavior and their acts make their way across every social media platform to each of the film company’s target audiences, and it becomes a part of what encourages fans to continue showing up for each movie release.
In Wendy’s case, it is the social media employees making their audience laugh. Their target audience enjoys their quips or their mock feuds with the competition, and the company uses that to their advantage. For Publix and Chick-Fil-A, their companies have learned to appeal to the audience that desires, in a sense, southern hospitality.
How Does This Help Me?
When you’re making a pitch to a company or working with a client, you become the face behind the brand you’re representing at that moment. The way you conduct yourself, the way you speak to those in the meeting or the way you speak to the client all make a statement about your brand.
You don’t want the members of the board you’re pitching to or the client you’re working with to think you were raised in a barn - because a bad customer experience can do a horrific amount of damage to your brand’s reputation. On average, it takes 12 positive responses to make up for one person left unhappy with the customer service experience they received.
When it comes to companies with a good standard of customer service, 81% of them are outperforming their competition because consumers are more willing to spend time and money with companies they believe provide excellent customer service.
By going in with a positive attitude and listening to the members of the board you’re pitching to, or by listening to the client you’re working with and showing them a high level of service, you show them the standard set for your brand and what they can expect by doing business with you.
How do I Incorporate Better Customer Service Into My Brand?
One: Understand your customer
To help strengthen your brand and your customer service model, look into your consumer base and create a buyer persona that will allow you to understand what exactly they are looking for when it comes to you and your brand.
The craft store Jo-Ann Fabrics has done this and created the buyer persona of a hands-on woman looking to develop or finish her next project. In doing their research, they discovered the target audience they are trying to reach are people that are knowledgeable, interested, and willing people to help them with what they need. Their customer service model is that they want their stores to be that woman’s happy place.
We’ve all heard that practice makes perfect and it is the same when it comes to customer service. We’re all human, and we’re all going to slip up and make a wrong call along the way. But through training and working towards the standard you want for your brand, it will grow customer service skills and start to become natural.
A lot of companies lately have been trying to incorporate the phrase of “my pleasure” instead of “thank you” or “you’re welcome” to make for a more positive experience for their consumer. This is a change to life skills that takes time, effort, and practice to take place and live up to the standard that has been set.
When those slip-ups do happen, take ownership for them and seek to resolve the issue in a way that suits your customer or your client, because defuse angry customers is going to play a part in whether this experience strengthens or damages your brand.
For customers that have had issues resolved in their favor, an average of 70% of them are willing to do business with that company again, and it shines a good light on the brand.
By resolving the issue, not only does it show that you are willing to take responsibility but it also shows that you care about your customer or client enough to ensure they are taken care of while they’re working with you.
These are just three of the ways that you can use to build a customer service standard that will help to strengthen your brand over time. This standard will become how your brand is known to your target audience and the public as word of mouth spreads from those who have worked with you. Each person that is a part of your brand and upholds that standard will become the face of your brand - whether they are the social media specialist or are working with the customer face to face.
Now go out there and be the Robert Downey Jr of your brand!