How to Build a Customer Service Brand


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Customer Service Branding

Accord­ing to cus­tomer ser­vice guru and blog­ger Seth Godin, “A brand is the set of expec­ta­tions, mem­o­ries, sto­ries and rela­tion­ships that, taken together, account for a consumer’s deci­sion to choose one prod­uct or ser­vice over another. If the con­sumer (whether it’s a busi­ness, a buyer, a voter or a donor) doesn’t pay a pre­mium, make a selec­tion or spread the word, then no brand value exists for that consumer.”

Your com­pany has a prod­uct or ser­vice that has a brand name, a brand iden­tity, a pur­pose, and con­sis­tent visual pres­ence as it relates to sales and mar­ket­ing. And, as Godin men­tions, your prod­uct has brand value, because cus­tomers are pay­ing for it, estab­lish­ing expec­ta­tions around it, and talk­ing about it. The value of the Cus­tomer Ser­vice Depart­ment has become pow­er­ful and vital over the past dozen years as con­sumers have blos­somed into brand advo­cates based in part on online research and social media com­mu­ni­ca­tion. Just as cus­tomers develop a rela­tion­ship with your prod­uct, they also do with your Cus­tomer Ser­vice Department—a brand in its own right that sets expec­ta­tions and cre­ates mem­o­ries, sto­ries and rela­tion­ships with consumers.

Look­ing at your Cus­tomer Ser­vice Depart­ment brand, then, let’s reflect: is your ser­vice brand being rec­og­nized among your indus­try and com­peti­tors? Is it being viewed within the com­pany as vital as it relates to recruit­ing and over­all cor­po­rate brand­ing? Here are four ways to ensure that indeed, your ser­vice brand is a mir­ror of your com­pany mis­sion and brand identity.

When Cus­tomer Ser­vice Rep­re­sen­ta­tives (CSRs) are first hired, they are required to attend train­ing before they begin to man the lines and han­dle cus­tomer inquiries. Is com­pany product/ser­vice brand train­ing part of that CSR ori­en­ta­tion? Ser­vice brand train­ing doesn’t mean you solely arm your CSRs with a list of your prod­ucts and/or ser­vices with bul­let lists of the prod­uct ben­e­fits and fea­tures. The ser­vice brand iden­tity is about how the con­sumer con­nects with the Cus­tomer Ser­vice Depart­ment. So in addi­tion to prod­uct train­ing, CSRs must also be given skills they need to com­mu­ni­cate pos­i­tively and pro­fes­sion­ally with cus­tomers. Prepar­ing your CSRs with cus­tomer ser­vice train­ing to be your company’s first line of brand advo­cates is essen­tial as it relates to suc­cess­ful cus­tomer ser­vice. After com­plet­ing effec­tive train­ing like this, employ­ees will feel good about their accom­plish­ments and cus­tomers will rave about their excel­lent ser­vice. That emo­tional con­nec­tion is between the Cus­tomer Ser­vice Depart­ment and the customer–an estab­lish­ment of what your ser­vice brand is all about.

In its sim­plest form, the com­pany brand is the spirit—the essence—of your com­pany. With­out good cus­tomer ser­vice, the spirit of the brand is lost. It is that sim­ple. And CSRs are a vital con­nec­tion to deliv­er­ing the spirit of the brand to your cus­tomers. “Sig­nif­i­cant improve­ments to cus­tomer expe­ri­ence and loy­alty rat­ings can be achieved once this con­nec­tion is made, assum­ing that your brand promise is well researched and meets cur­rent cus­tomer needs.” Brand train­ing for the Cus­tomer Ser­vice Depart­ment should start with the mes­sag­ing they are deliv­er­ing to the customers—is com­pany mes­sag­ing con­sis­tent? Are pro­ce­dures in place that CSRs fol­low when it comes to cus­tomer com­plaints and/or prod­uct and ser­vice issues? Your CSRs are the face and voice of your com­pany. Busi­nesses today real­ize the value these front-line employ­ees bring. Moti­vate your CSRs through train­ing, so they can reflect the spirit of the brand every time they speak to a customer.

Accord­ing to a sur­vey con­ducted by Dimen­sional Research, good, con­sis­tent “cus­tomer ser­vice not only affects rev­enue, but has a long last­ing impact, with cus­tomer ser­vice rank­ing as the No. 1 fac­tor influ­enc­ing how much a con­sumer trusts a com­pany.” The bet­ter the cus­tomer ser­vice pro­vided, the more likely cus­tomers will share the expe­ri­ence with their friends. And as your rep­u­ta­tion for ser­vice builds, you have more to brag about in the media which will in turn, pro­vide more cov­er­age and attract more prospec­tive customers.

Exter­nal Cus­tomer Ser­vice brand recog­ni­tion has been estab­lished: cus­tomers and your indus­try are buzzing about the out­stand­ing ser­vice your com­pany pro­vides. So what about inter­nal depart­men­tal brand recog­ni­tion? A com­mon level of respect is cre­ated as acco­lades come in, and the Cus­tomer Ser­vice Depart­ment con­tin­u­ally gets rec­og­nized for its excel­lent ser­vice.

A strong rep­u­ta­tion helps HR recruit for the Cus­tomer Ser­vice Depart­ment. Strong can­di­dates strive to work for suc­cess­ful com­pa­nies that have a pos­i­tive brand iden­tity and com­pany rep­u­ta­tion. Accord­ing to Dan Purvis, Direc­tor of Pub­lic Rela­tions at The Melt­wa­ter Group (see pg 12 of attach­ment), “can­di­date attrac­tion relies on hav­ing a cred­i­ble, attrac­tive brand, and you don’t want any­thing get­ting in the way of that.”

Now that you have the tools to set your Cus­tomer Ser­vice Depart­ment goals, cre­ate industry-wide recog­ni­tion, and estab­lish an inter­nal com­pany rep­u­ta­tion, you can put all these tips into motion. Now you can cre­ate a Cus­tomer Ser­vice Brand that stands for pride, rep­re­sents the sat­is­fac­tion of all cus­tomers, and sets the stan­dard for all Cus­tomer Ser­vice Depart­ments to follow!

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Jodi Beuder
We help organizations create a positive connection between customers and brands. We promote synergy through integration as it builds on the decades of collective history of renowned expertise. MHI Global is your comprehensive source for customer-management excellence solutions to compete in today's ever-changing, customer-centric environment.


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