Customer services: an extension of your brand and values
“As an internal communications specialist, I cannot stress the value of good customer service enough.”
“As the managing director of an agency, with responsibility for all client relations, I cannot stress the value of good customer service enough.”
“As a regular patron of the convenience store on my street, I cannot stress the value of good customer service enough.”
Seeing a pattern emerge?
It doesn’t require an industry expert to explain the importance of good customer service. In fact, as you might expect, that privilege usually belongs to your clients. I can put forward some pretty interest facts related to this area though; for example, 81% of customers would be willing to pay more in order to receive superior customer service. That’s a personal favourite.
‘Customer service’ usually makes people think of a retail scenario, but it applies to pretty much any sector you can think of. There are always customers as there’s always someone that benefits from the product or the services you provide. Otherwise you wouldn’t be paid to do it, would you?
Client service doesn’t only apply to making sure you always do a good job all of the time without issue. In fact, I’ve always said that an issue or problem dealt with effectively can actually be more beneficial than just doing a good job all of the time. Generally we expect good customer service and as a result we tend not to talk about it that much. We’re more inclined to moan about being poorly treated, or maybe wax lyrical about a speedy and sensitive resolution if a problem arises.
A customer-facing team are much the same. They’re expected to be empathic, efficient and good communicators by default. It isn’t until an employee goes truly beyond the call of duty, or possibly aggravates a client, that a particular transaction becomes noteworthy.
Because each customer should feel truly valued, and yet call centre operatives, retail assistants, front of house teams etc. can deal with hundreds of individuals on a daily basis, it’s essential that attributes of your corporate brand identity – put forward through your internal communications strategy – mirror those that will help a workforce achieve consistent excellence in their customer service.
Cynical decision makers might frown upon a brand built upon terms like ‘friendly’, ‘warm’ or ‘personable’ as part of a brand identity. But, every conscientious employee endeavours to stay true to the identity of their company’s brand, using it as part of their role’s blueprint. Although an individual’s personality traits can never be underestimated, a brand identity that is easily implemented across a busy, customer-facing work environment is far more likely to be reach your client base.
Think of it this way: the easiest way for a member of your team to convey that your company is ‘friendly’ is to be friendly when dealing with clients. It’s the same for a company that wants to be seen as ‘understanding’ or ‘sympathetic.’
A brand identity that’s ‘optimised’ for those working in customer service – which draws upon personality traits that lend themselves to best client-facing protocol – is often the most successfully translated to stakeholders.
Guest Post from Sam Rainey, McGrath O’Toole: Internal comms specialist Sam Rainey was invited to join Leeds-based McGrath O’Toole as managing director last April, to develop the client services function that drew upon his 16 years’ experience in the creative and experiential event sectors.