Does your customer service live up to your brand promise? Nearly a third of customers will walk away from a brand they love after a single negative experience. That’s why it’s essential to make sure your customer service reflects your brand image.
Your brand is a lot more than marketing. It’s the sum of every touchpoint where customers interact with you. Every experience, whether positive or negative, can shape customer perception forever. As Jeff Bezos says, your brand is what people say about you when you’re not in the room.
It’s tempting to focus on exciting marketing initiatives, like social media posts, email campaigns, and events. But if the everyday experiences that customers have with your brand don’t meet or exceed their expectations, it will leave a sour taste in their mouth and damage your brand value. Here are our top tips and insights for integrating brand into customer service.
Why Does Customer Service Matter to Your Brand?
Picture this. You’re the brand manager at a major airline. A customer is dissatisfied with the service they experienced on their flight, and they have taken to Twitter to vent. It looks like they have left some disparaging reviews on Google, too. Now, customers, investors, employees, and anyone else researching your brand online can find out what happened. In the age of social media, one-off incidents can easily be immortalized and have a detrimental impact on your brand-building efforts.
How to Integrate Brand and Customer Service
Creating on-brand customer experiences requires marketing and customer service to work together. Each department sees only one piece of the puzzle, so close collaboration is key to understanding and optimizing the whole customer journey.
Putting the customer first is a given. Great brands take customer service one step further with experiences that reflect the brand’s personality. For example, if you are a luxury brand that stands for good quality, customers will expect a particularly high level of attention to detail. If your brand image is fun and quirky, customers will want to see this in their interactions with you – whether in-store, online, or over the phone.
If the brand message and the customer experience don’t match up, your company might come across as inauthentic, or worse, irritate customers. Read our handy checklist to help you unify your brand marketing and messaging with the customer experience.
How Top Brands Integrate Brand and Customer Service
The world’s most successful brands put the customer experience at the heart of everything they do. In fact, going above and beyond for their customers is part of the reason why they are so successful in the first place. Read on to learn how top brands approach customer service.
When it comes to creating a magical and unforgettable customer experience, all companies can learn from Disney. Disney theme parks welcome over 150 million guests every year, with an impressive 70% return rate for first-time guests. So, what’s their secret?
Disney treats every guest, no matter if it’s their first visit or their hundredth, like a VIP. This level of customer service is made possible by Disney’s team of over 130,000 dedicated employees who receive extensive training. New staff members go through six weeks of training before they start serving customers, and on their very first day, they learn that their job, no matter their position, is to create happiness.
Disney encourages its employees to show initiative and offer guests personalized experiences. If a customer asks a question, employees are taught to think on their feet and figure out a solution rather than simply saying, “I don’t know.” This customer-focused mindset is seen at every level of the company with the full support of the senior leadership team.
Furthermore, Disney uses technology to reduce any friction which might detract from the Disney magic. Losing a paper ticket for a ride wouldn’t be much fun, so all guests get swipeable smart wristbands with their tickets and payment information. Guests can check ride wait times, park events, and hours anytime using the app. To avoid delays or errors, restaurants use RFID technology to bring guests’ meals straight to their table. In short, technology seamlessly enhances customer service efforts.
The global hotel chain has a rich, international heritage and its loyalty program boasts over 110 million members. Mariott knows that to “wow” your guests, you need to offer an experience that goes beyond what they expect. That’s where their “surprise and delight” initiatives come in. For instance, if they notice on social media that a guest is celebrating an anniversary or engagement, they commemorate the special occasion with a cake or bottle of champagne.
So that their guests are fully satisfied, Mariott has developed global partnerships in entertainment, sports and culinary. By expanding their services beyond their core offering, they are able to offer customers a better service and leave no stone unturned in their quest to make their guests happy.
As you can see, the Mariott brand goes beyond marketing. Their customer services team brings the brand to life every time a guest checks in at the hotel. By offering their customers the best possible service, the luxury hotel chain has been able to drive loyalty and repeat stays, leading to business growth.
From the Apple Watch to iPhones to MacBook Pros – Apple makes some of the most popular tech gadgets in the world. But in addition to much-loved, highly innovative products, the company also prides itself on all-star A-P-P-L-E customer service. The five customer service pillars happen to spell out the brand name: A: Approach customers with a personalized, warm welcome P: Probe politely to understand the customer’s needs P: Present a solution for the customer to take home today L: Listen for and resolve issues or concerns E: End with a fond farewell and an invitation to return
Apple makes a point of ensuring the customer experience lives up to the brand promise. But that wasn’t always the case. Before Steve Jobs took over in 1997, Apple computers were sold through chain stores and other authorized outlets. The company wanted to offer customers a more personalized experience and severed ties with over 10,000 third-party retailers. After that, the company opened the first Apple store and overhauled its entire website.
Moving customer service in-house gave Apple full control over every aspect of the customer experience. The quirkiness of the Apple brand is at the heart of the customer experience, from referring to store employees as “geniuses”, to offering free tech support in-store at the “genius bar”.
While some might associate Nespresso with the iconic George Clooney ads, the luxury coffee brand truly understands how to make customers feel special. Ever wondered why Nespresso capsules are not available in your supermarket? That’s because a supermarket is not conducive to the kind of luxurious experience Nespresso aspires to offer. Instead, the coffee capsules are available in Nespresso stores, known as “boutiques”.
Unlike a typical busy store with fully-stocked shelves, Nespresso boutiques are all about the atmosphere, and only select products are on display. After completing a purchase, customers are invited to stay longer and enjoy a free coffee in the tasting area.
If a customer can’t make it to the “boutique”, they can order their coffee via the Nespresso website or app, and Nespresso offers next-day delivery. In other words, the brand makes it very easy and pleasant for customers to buy from them. And that’s not all.
The “Nespresso and you” loyalty program offers a range of rewards, such as free machine repair, special offers and free coffee-tasting masterclasses. The loyalty program is split into three tiers: connoisseur, expert and ambassador, based on the level of coffee consumption. This not only rewards their most loyal customers, it also encourages customers to keep purchasing from them.
Your brand is what you stand for and sets customer expectations for their interactions with you. Meeting and exceeding those expectations is the best way to keep customers happy and drive brand loyalty. Marketing and the customer service team need to work together to “wow” customers with on-brand experiences.