Customer Service Interlinks with Brand Power;
Brand Power Interlinks with Customer Service
Two of the key drivers to building brand strength are creating a distinct brand identity and developing a unique brand personality. Unfortunately, semantics often gets in the way of understanding how these two factors can influence brand power. Brand identity, for example, is often used in a limited, graphic-centric manner or used interchangeably with brand image. All too often, identity is seen as just the graphics, logos, colours, and symbols that generally make up corporate identity. Those elements are the appearance (which is very important) but not the substance of a brand, just as the clothes you wear are an important, even distinguishing, part of your identity, but not the substance of who you are as a person.
According to Jean-Noel Kapferer, author of Strategic Brand Management, identity precedes image: “An obsession with image tends to attach greater importance to appearance than to inner reality. But brand identity is a richer, more substantial concept to embrace.”
There’s also a simple way to sum up and understand the essence of the two terms: image is how the marketplace perceives you; identity is who you really are.
Owning a successful brand requires a lot of hard work. Developing the perfect product, determining your consumers and identifying your brand’s position on the market all come into play when creating a brand package that will appeal and sell. However, the work does not stop with introducing and selling. After successfully launching a brand, an owner or operator needs to ensure they maintain the level of quality that made this company stand out.
This is where customer service comes in. Poor customer service (whether it is actually poor or is just perceived as poor) leads to a negative brand image in consumers’ minds. On the other hand, great customer service can have significant impacts in positive brand perceptions.
You have done this, I know – called a customer service line and spending 10 minutes navigating through automated services, desperately trying to connect with a human being. Then, after finally being able to connect with a representative, you find that the person provides you with inaccurate information or chooses not to be helpful at all. More often than not, language barrier adds to the frustration that caller gets when they call these helpdesk numbers.
Have you met this kind in your dealings with others? – the companies that choose to be so unfriendly, bored or aloof, that you end up feeling like you did something wrong by seeking help!
Well. You have a brand. I have a brand. Everyone has one. Look what happened to the Adidas Brand when the ‘customer’ took exception. But this cannot happen they screamed! It is a well-known brand! People should respect that. This situation was a one-off. To quote another well-known brand; “Yeah Right!”
In today’s economic condition, customer service is an easy place to do cut costs. However, the negative implications to your brand when customer service suffers are far-reaching and long lasting. That damage can be hard to erase or reverse.
Human nature makes it easy for unsatisfied customers to tell people about their negative experiences with your company. Research tells us they can tell up to 20 different people. On the other hand, happy customers are usually less likely to go out of their way to tell the world about how great your company is. They usually only tell one or two.
It is important to go the extra mile to build loyal customers. It is also important to do the simple things that customers expect — such as giving them an easy way to get effective and friendly help when they need it. After all, an essential part of brand building is setting and meeting expectations for your brand. Make a point to study how customer service affects your brand in the minds of consumers and how consumers react to those perceptions.
As a company, we need to realise that our customers are our business’s bloodline. In simple terms, ‘the customer pays our wages and costs’. No customers – no income! We need to make sure our customers are always treated kindly so they will continue doing business or patronising the company and its offerings.
Make no mistake – ‘brand power’ is worth real money to an organisation. Indeed, for some, it represents the real value of the company. All companies that wish to grow want the power of their brand to grow at an even faster rate – brands propel growth more than any other company growth hormone.
Brands get you noticed. Brands help to make choices. As the number of possible choices customers can make become even greater in the consumer and business marketplaces, and as globalisation impacts more and more, so the power of a brand can get stronger and stronger.
A brand should give trust, understanding and certainty of product or service. Brands have rational and emotional dimensions and this is why they are powerful as marketing devices. They cut out much of the need to educate the market.