How to Use Customer Service as a Branding Tool
In his new book, “The Brand Who Cried Wolf: Deliver on Your Company’s Promise and Create Customers for Life” (Wiley, April $24.95), author Scott Deming outlines several ways to effectively brand your business through customer service. Here are a few of his tips.
1. Deliver on your promises. When individuals and your company fail to deliver on your brand promises, you won’t create or maintain uniqueness in your brand categories, Deming says. It causes a lack of brand loyalty among customers, making them just more likely to go for someone else’s product over yours. Conversely, if a company over-delivers on its promises, it’s able to create a feeling of belonging, culture and family.
2. Understand your power of influence. Your actions can create a ripple effect with your customers. Focus on actions that show you acknowledge and understand their needs. This helps produce a brand that’s promise creates a far-reaching, positive ripple effect and positive word of mouth circulates. Realize that this works both ways, Deming cautions. Breaking your brand promise creates unhappy customers, who’ll quickly spread the word about poor service.
3. Relate to your customers and employees. View the company through the eyes of your customers and employees. “Ask yourself, ‘If I were one of my customers, what would I love to have from me?’ Then, do it!” Deming says. Gauge the loyalty of your employees because loyal employees provide the ultimate experience for customers. Nurture loyal employees who stand behind your company’s brand.
4. Have a brand identity in place. Make values and sincerity your brand. Marketing and/or advertising efforts need to be based around your brand identity, the author says. Brand identity only can be created by you and the relationships you develop. Appearance without substance — advertising and driving people to your business without a powerful brand identity — leads to failure.
5. Be genuine and true to your brand. Develop an authentic, sincere brand. You don’t want your customers to feel like they’re being “sold” based on a false business persona. “When you are sincere about trying to understand your customers’ needs, desires and what they’d truly love from you, a genuine connection is made that is the foundation of trust between you and your customers,” Deming says. “And customers who trust a business keep coming back to that business over and over again.”
He adds, “Creating beliefs in the hearts and minds of your customers about you, your company, your values — your brand — is the core element of success. When your customers see that you truly value them and care about the service you can provide them, they’ll be customers for life.”