Branding..You have probably been hearing about it for a while now, and perhaps you aren’t quite certain what it means?
Branding, by definition, is a marketing practice in which a company creates a name, symbol or design that is easily identifiable as belonging to the company. This helps to identify a product and distinguish it from other products and services. Branding is important because not only is it what makes a memorable impression on consumers but it allows your customers and clients to know what to expect from your company. It is a way of distinguishing yourself from your competitors and clarifying what it is you offer that makes you the better choice. Your brand is built to be a true representation of who you are as a business, and how you wish to be perceived.
There are many areas that are used to develop a brand including advertising, customer service, promotional merchandise, reputation and logo. All of these elements work together to create one unique and (hopefully) attention-grabbing professional profile.
When it comes to brand building, customer service is often the last and most-ignored piece of the puzzle. This is a big mistake–and big missed opportunity. Aligning customer service and your brand is an essential but under-used way to attract and retain customers, differentiate the business, and boost brand loyalty. Done right, it can create a truly sustainable competitive advantage. Here are ways we’ve seen to use customer service to reinforce brand identity.
Define your core values
At Central Comm one of our core values is to provide excellent customer service and to value our customers. We also value our customers’ customers and not only strive to provide exellent service at a fair price, but to go beyond what’s expected when the situation calls for it.
Know Your Customer
Yes, this is business 101, but it is still one of the big ones. Having a customer-focused brand means tailoring the brand not to your needs but to those of your customers. Who is YOUR best customer? How do YOU best service that customer? What do you offer that no one else does?
Know Your Team
Everyone in your organization should see themselves as involved in customer service. But are any of you clear on what amazing customer service really is? The best way to find out is to ask, to have workshops, to listen to your team’s ideas, needs and even complaints.
Embrace Social Media
You will want to meet your customers where they are. And, more often than not, that will be on social media. You will need to make sure the web design of your site is responsive to the needs of your customers. It has to be mobile-friendly, and allow for interaction via Facebook, Instagram, Twitter etc. Take advantage of the innovations in terms of messaging apps, tagging and live streaming to name a few.
Whether online, on some of the many social networking channels or face-to-face, customer service is the backbone of a successful business. Your brand identity should be rooted in how you treat your customers. To get it right, you will want to involve everyone in your team as well as your customers.