Does Your Brand Truly Care?
I recently asked this question to a friend who works for a consumer-facing SaaS business. He had a look in his eye of "what do you mean 'truly care'?" I said to him, "you know, do they 'walk-the-walk' or just 'talk-the-talk?'" He had a smirk smile. He meant talk!
In a B to C play, consumers can quickly see right through a brand into its DNA. It is essential that your company's brand be built by the Founder (or Founders), who are also consumers, as well as passionate about the brand they founded. What I mean is to put yourself in the customers shoes and build the brand experience around you, the customer (consumer). What do you want, and when? Why do you want what you want now? If something is wrong, well, just fix it. Now.
Consumers are super empowered in 2018. And brands can leverage this to grow their own brand awareness and revenue. But only if you are prepared to act immediately when a consumer requests something, or has a complaint. This takes a well thought out consumer engagement and customer service strategy, leveraging training and technology, that should include the following:
Just Deliver it. When a customer wants something, especially if they have a genuine or perceived complaint, you need to have a plan to deliver what they want. Or deliver them something of true "value" in place of "it." Information, a refund, a guarantee, a replacement, something.
A customer support budget for those customers who complain, or are simply "irritated" with your product, service, or some aspect of your brand. Example: A year ago I was at a Starbucks inside of an airport terminal. I ordered a double "short" cappuccino. The employee said he cannot do a short only a tall, and that he had to charge me for a tall. I was noticeably frustrated, but said, "well, ok.". (Yes, call me a coffee snob, I was raised in Seattle!). Well, I was irritated enough to post this on twitter a few minutes after picking up my coffee drink because I was waiting for my flight to board. Within 30 minutes, I received a twitter message from Starbucks apologizing for my experience and giving me a coupon for a free drink of any size, shape or color! I was "wow'd". Starbucks turned me back around instantly (and before I boarded my flight where I probably would have shared my experience with the person sitting next to me). They did this using a great call call center with well trained reps who were empowered (with a budget) to serve me.
Empower your Call Center Team to Serve - On the Spot - with Great Processes and Training. Yes, this takes a lot of training. But it also requires you to think through the customer experience, knowing what technology you need to serve the customer right then and there. When customers complain, they want to know you care. And, I mean genuinely care. The training aspect of this is to set clear rules and roles for what your call center reps can do, and cannot do, to make things right. And then, teach them to communicate with your customers in genuine way (stay away from scripts if you can). And, as last resort, make sure the caller can always be escalated to a supervisor. Especially if the caller asks for this. This is very important based on my experience of 28 years in the customer service industry.
Just a few thoughts I've learned along the way when it comes to backing up your brand with genuine, caring action and customer care. Thank you for reading. And, kudos to Starbucks for teaching me what great customer service is all about when I complained!
Steve Shefveland, Founder
Emerging Global Services, LLC