In the digital age, brand building is one of the most powerful tools you can leverage for success. To put it into perspective: there are more than 5 billion active internet users at any given time, which is about 60% of the world’s population.
Why is that important? Well, considering that’s how many people who can potentially see your brand and be influenced by it, it’s a pretty important factor in your marketing strategy, or at least, it should be! The internet has changed business forever, and modern strategies are required to cement your company and your brand in your industry.
But beyond a cool logo, a defining font, trademark sounds, witty copy, and all those visual bells-and-whistles most companies pay millions for, there’s still one, extremely important part of brand building that companies often forget: customer service.
In the digital age, business has changed from being brand-centric to customer-centric, which means that customers are friendlier towards companies that make them feel like their particular pain points, wants, and needs are being addressed directly. Long gone are the days where you can just take your product and say “buy it”; now, customers need a reason why.
Brand building in the 21st century is all about one thing: adding value to your customer’s life. And to do that, you need to understand what your customers are and build your brand around those needs. For a brand in the digital age to be relatable and likeable, it needs to put its customers at the core of its considerations. Do it right, and your brand can create a truly sustainable competitive advantage, not to mention create a lasting impression on a customer base that grows daily.
Here are some ways you can make your brand customer-centric, and how you can build a brand that is focused on customer service:
Brand Building 101: Your Customer Service Should Be Aligned With Your Brand
Good companies provide good customer service, but great companies provide good customer service with the intent of both creating a strong, personal connection with their customers and further establishing a positive image of their brand throughout the customer service interaction process. Positive feedback from both existing customers and new customers are a great way to further boost your brand.
Remember: your brand is reinforced in everything that you do, not just through advertising and/or word-of-mouth marketing. Whether it’s customer-facing, online community management, or back-office ops, every step of the customer service process needs to be aligned with your brand, from the tone of your voice (or writing) to the level of personalization your brand offers.
Coordination is key to an effective customer service-centric brand building strategy, so ensure that every aspect of your customer service strategies is aligned with your brand; this means that all departments and employees that might potentially deal with customers need to be trained and coordinated so that everyone is on the same page and forwarding your brand image towards a more positive light.
Brand Building 101: Nothing Beats Human-Assisted Customer Service
There’s a reason they’re called ‘customer service representatives’: apart from your advertising strategies, your customer service, whether it’s online or in-person, will be the face of your brand and will be a direct reflection of your brand and your company as a whole. It doesn’t matter if you’re a service-based business or a luxury company: your customer service representatives need to reflect the values and vision of your brand every time they interact with people.
This is why it’s doubly important to keep your customer service processes as human-friendly as possible. In the digital age, pretty much everything can be automated and done online, but study after study shows that human customers prefer, well, human customer service representatives.
If your brand building strategy is focused on putting the customer’s needs first (which it should), then you need to invest heavily in training your human customer service representatives to be more attuned to your customer’s concerns. Spiels and template replies don’t work anymore: customers need to feel that they’re talking to someone who can actually help and is actually concerned about their well-being.
Remember that adding value to your customer’s lives are at the center of customer-centric business strategies, so when a customer has a complaint and reaches out to you, you’re going to need a human touch to care for human problems. Empathy is more important than corporate jargon, so train your customer service representatives with that in mind.
Brand Building 101: Extend Self-Service Options For Customer Service Needs
While people do prefer talking to human representatives for crucial issues, most of the time, people who reach out to a brand online simply want more information than is provided on the front page. In this situation, it’s actually better to just simply extend a self-service option using sophisticated chat bots that can easily be programmed to address the most common of concerns.
Automated response systems for common issues are a great way to continue building your brand: ensure that your chat bot is still speaking in your company’s “voice” and is providing a level of personalized service that your company offers. Remember that the primary role of self-service options in customer service is to gate keep: the bots are there to immediately address and solve common issues like answering FAQ’s or providing contact details, it’s not supposed to replace human representatives.
Once an issue is too complicated for the bot to solve, it should immediately refer the customer to a human representative.
Brand Building 101: Don’t Forget to Check Your Metrics
Knowledge is power, and the role of data in business growth and success can neither be denied nor understated. Data metrics are the most efficient way for any company to improve its processes, and analyzing your customer service data metrics is the first step to creating a positive image for your brand.
Every step of your customer service process should be analyzed so that your company can improve its strategy moving forward. Pay attention to what processes need improvement, customer feedback, and which processes are helping you achieve your goals.
Creating the right brand building strategy is vital to your business’ success and longevity. In the digital age, it’s become more crucial to compete and win customer loyalty.