When brands are working to grow their products, services, or overall brand, customer service branding plays a key role. Find out more in this article.
When you hear the terms ‘brand image’ and ‘branding’ it’s easy to make the common mistake of only thinking aesthetics. This is with good reason. A well-designed brand identity is vital for success. A smart attractive design will always win a customer over. However, if that beautiful exterior is filled with a poor interior, it’s only a matter of time before it is exposed
Think about human-to-human interactions. If you’re shallow, fake, and just an all-around bad person inside, why would anybody want to interact with you? The same is true for a brand.
Customer service is the face of a company, and relationships with customers can powerfully affect the growth of your brand. A positive customer service experience with a brand can strenghten a brand image of reliability, trust, and respect.
This article will go in-depth on how customer service can shape your brand. As well as how it’s a necessary form of branding that could have a lasting impact on your business growth.
What is Customer Service?
Firstly, customer service is a direct open channel of communication between a consumer making a purchase(product/service) and a representative of the company selling it.
However, to deliver excellent customer service, businesses must assist and guide their clients at all stages of the buying process.
According to Statista, 40% of customers in the US stopped doing business with a company due to poor customer service. Customer service is one of the most vital aspects of any company. However, its importance in branding has often been overlooked or otherwise neglected.
Customers are the lifeblood of any business. The positive impact that good customer service has on a company cannot be understated. For your business to succeed, you must have a customer base that will continue to adopt your company’s products/services. This is only possible with quality customer service.
Customer service and business marketing are often treated as two distinct corporate entities. This is partially due to an outdated business model: the sales funnel.
The traditional sales funnel model assumes that prospects take a straight line from marketing to purchasing. This is a wrong assumption which is no longer working in today’s modern world. Technology and evolving customer needs is responsible for the shift in strategy. This notion of a direct line between marketing and sales can damage your brand image. Ultimately affecting your sales. The three main flaws of the sales funnel are:
- The burden of finding new customers and generating sales rest only on the marketing and sales team.
- It creates the impression that business marketing is the only way to find prospects.
- It cares less about what happens to customers after they make a purchase.
There are implications to bad customer service within today’s competitive environment.
Staying on top of the game means looking forward to what’s trending and how customer service can benefit your brand. For example, the Apple Inc brand is well known for its exclusive products, and industry-leading customer service. The brand is also known for its use of breakthroughs in technology with all its products. According to the American customer satisfaction index, Apple ranks first with 80%. The company’s lasting success is grounded in customer loyalty which is a fruit of Apple’s well-branded customer service.
Apple clearly understands the role of well-branded customer service in business growth. They are able to strengthen their customer service with great ideas, that ensure their customers will continue to purchase from them.
Firstdirect is another brand with a peculiar customer service branding. According to the Institute of customer service, Firstdirect was named the best British brand in the latest Customer Satisfaction Index. They achieve this status by making it easier for their customers to reach them. Their customers can get in touch in whichever way and at whatever time they prefer while receiving the same quality service. Currently, their customers can call, send an email, Tweet or leave a message on Facebook. Firstdirect is always looking for new ways to interact with their customers and stay connected.
Adobe is another example of a brand with great customer service. On Nov 25, 2020, Adobe tweeted about an outage caused by Amazon Web Services. This was before any customer had the chance to complain. The tweet included a puppy cartoon video to lighten the atmosphere. As a result of the quick action, only a few asked when the services would resume. Most customers focused on the funny, cute puppy. Adobe’s proactive action was a result of well branded customer service. One that builds a trustworthy, positive image for the brand. However, bad customer service devalue existing customer connections, risk loosing potential prospects, and weaken your company’s bottom line. A survey by NewVoiceMedia, estimates that U.S. companies lose $62 billion in annual revenue due to bad customer service.
All it takes is one terrible experience with customer service to ruin a customer’s perception of a product/service indefinitely. According to the SBA, 68% of customers depart because they are unhappy with their treatment.
A great example of what not to do is; Ryanair Airlines. Ryanair is struggling because their customer service has gone down the drain, and they still don’t understand why. It could be attributed to Ryanair’s poor communication with its stakeholders. However, Ryanair continues to fail to identify customer service, as a necessary form of building a respected successful brand.
This is clear in the recent survey by ‘which?’. In the survey, only 13% of Ryanair customers were happy with the customer service they received. Futhermore, the annual ‘Which’ rating survey of customer service saw Ryanair score 40%. It was the sixth year in a row that Ryanair had come last. It is needless to say; this has greatly restrict their growth, profits, and brand image.
Why do Brands Need to see Customer Service as a Form of Branding?
To build a great company today, first, you have to put your customers and their needs at the center of your business. This can be achieve with customer service branding. Customer service is a very important form of branding. It’s the face of the company. Offering great customer service means interacting with customers before, during, and after a purchase has taken place.
Customer service branding needs to be a part of your brand DNA from the get-go. If people don’t like what they see, they will not trust you. People today want more than just a product. Customers want to know what the company stands for and that their voice will be heard. Brands that understand this and focus on customer service often do better than those that don’t.
Below are the reason why you need to integrate customer service as a form of branding.
To Retain Customers
Today, customers are smarter, more doubtful, and well-informed. Because of this, it’s difficult to keep clients. Customers may leave at the first hint of a bad customer service experience. Retaining customers has always been a key ingredient of the most successful companies.
Loyal customers provide positive approval and good reviews. This can help businesses strengthen their brand. A loyal customer, on average, is ten times more valuable than their first purchase. Microsoft’s 2017 State of Global Customer Service Report confirms the importance of customer service. According to the report, 96% say customer service is important in their choice of loyalty to a brand. Also, 70% of Americans spent more money doing business with a brand that offers great customer service.
To Increase Sales
Customer service isn’t only about retention. It also works to increase sales. Your prospects will have questions about your product or services. Research by Oberlo shows that 52% of buyers abandon online purchases if they can’t get the information they need. When you have a positive customer service, it could be the driving force that land you your next customer.
To Increase Awareness
Customer service is the only type of business branding that sells itself. According to websitebuilder, 97% of people are influenced by the customer reviews they read. This emphasizes that good customer service is capable to increase brand awareness.
To Improve the Products/Services you Offer
Customer Service is crucial to improving products and services. It can reform how people see your product, it can also inform how customers use your product. Whether or not they are experiencing any difficulties. Your product choices have a direct influence on customer service. You should view customer service as a form of branding that needs to be integrated into your business structure. If you do this, It’s possible to discover which additions or adjustments customers want to see in your product.
To Help Make Better Business Decisions
Customer service can benefit a brand more than simply providing support to customers. It can assist through data collection. It will also provide analytical data on how the business is doing. This will further assist brands to make better business decisions.
Ways that Brands can Focus on Improving their Customer Service
Here are ways that brands can focus on in other to improve their customer service branding:
Seek Customer Feedback
To give outstanding customer service, you must first understand your customers’ wants. You must find out their needs, and experiences. Make sure you give your customers various available options for sharing their comments with you. You can collect the information by sending an email feedback form or by conducting phone surveys. You can also establish a complaint system. In addition to gathering input, you get the advantage in making them feel valued and eager to remedy their difficulties. This level of transparency makes a customer less likely to voice their concerns or make nasty remarks.
Strengthen your Customer Service Team
The core reason for measuring certain customer service metrics is to reveal areas that requires rebranding. This can be achieved by:
- Responding to customer requests
- Sending acknowledgment emails
- Follow up with customers
- Solving requests in the first reply
- Reducing the response time
- Making key information easily available
- Adding the element of sincerity
Integrate CRM Platforms
To address this issue, brands may integrate smart Customer Relationship Manager solutions to optimize their customer service. This is critical when it comes to setting excellent customer service standards. In addition, it will helps to ensure that everyone is on the same page.
Leverage on Omnichannel Servicing
A Forester survey indicates that 69% of US customers prefer doing business with businesses that offer multi channel support.
Customers needs to have easy communication channels with your brand. This will assist in improving the reputation and trustworthiness of your company.
You can help your consumers receive omnichannel support by taking full advantage of the following channels:
- Traditional communication; e.g. Emails, Phone Numbers
- Social media; e.g. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, WhatsApp
- Self-service; e.g. FAQ guides and Help Articles, Video Tutorials
In conclusion, your brand’s image to the rest of the world matters. More so than ever before. Brand image is much more than just attractive design assets and smart advertising. Great customer service is vital to brand growth and development. It’s high-time brands see customer service as an important form of branding, that is capable of potentially upscaling any business.