While companies used to be more focused on trying to figure out what their existing and potential customers like and what expectations they might have, the communication channels that now exist have completely transformed the interaction between companies and customers. This means that it’s much easier to find out how customers feel about your brand and what they’d like you offer in the future, but, at the same time, it has placed a huge amount of stress on companies to handle the communication appropriately and efficiently.
One of the most important aspects of this communication is definitely the one related to customer support. People who have already purchased your product or service or who are thinking about doing so have a need to contact your company. Depending on how you deal with it, you might end up with a please customer, who is likely to recommend you to others. Unfortunately, you can also significantly damage your company’s reputation.
What is a brand?
In order to fully grasp the importance of preserving your brand image, you need to be aware that a brand is not just a logo, but rather a combination of various things and activities you undertake. Every element that a customer can use to get in contact with you has a great importance in establishing a brand.
Unless you provide excellent user experience to each and every customer that uses your website, blog, social media accounts, or simply decides to write an e-mail or make a phone call, you won’t be able to strengthen your brand identity, which means you really need to be extremely careful and let your customers know they can trust you.
Importance of customer support
When we get to the point where a customer wishes or needs to establish contact with customer support, we are potentially exposed to a wide range of reasons for this. Still, no matter what the reason is, the customer expects certain information or action on our behalf. Failure to meet the expectations will result in a very negative experience and, consequently, bad word-of-mouth.
On the other hand, meeting or, even better, exceeding such expectations, will undoubtedly create a very positive opinion and a wish to remain loyal to your brand. What’s more, you can expect that satisfied customers are your most efficient promoters. In the increasingly competitive world, having people who are ready to defend your brand against competition is priceless.
How to boost your brand through customer support?
Although there’s no universal solution for all companies, some general principles can be applied in almost all situations. What they all have in mind is a clear, customer-centered strategy, which features some of the following:
1. Clear and attainable goals
One of the tips is to write down your company’s culture code, which will be a starting point for all actions you undertake. In it, you should define your company’s purpose and values it strives to nurture and the strategy for implementing these values in the customer support.
The vision should be reflected in every job, no matter what hierarchical position it holds, and it should be in the very core of every decision employees make and actions they take.
3. Support can be provided before the actual purchase
An increasing number of people will choose to contact customer support even before making a purchase and most of them will use the company website to do so. This means you need to pay a lot of attention to the design and user-friendliness of each step in the communication process. Every contact information should be clearly visible and people should be able to ask for and receive assistance at any moment.
In terms of sending an e-mail inquiry, the customer is looking for a quick, but not necessarily immediate response, while that’s not the case when they decide to make a phone call. In that case, they expect a prompt, relevant and efficient answer. Having or outsourcing a telephone answering service might be the solution if you want to allow customers to be able to call you 24/7 and be given courteous responses.
3. Let customers play their part
Unless you create communication channels that customers could use to tell you how they feel about your offer and possibly to make recommendations, you’ll fail at one of the most important tasks when it comes to customer care. Not only should you create such channels, buy you also need to establish some mechanisms that would show your customers that you’ve listened to them and acknowledged what they had to say.
Getting customers’ feedback on your brand is invaluable when it comes to measuring your progress and setting new targets for the future. The more information you receive, the easier it is for you to understand the trends and make plans accordingly.
4. Everyone should be involved in customer support
Regardless of the position they take, each employee should be ready to play their part when it comes to customer support. It doesn’t necessarily mean that senior managers need to reply to every e-mail all the time, but they should step in and help on the front line in order to improve the image of their company.
If customers realize their query is being dealt with a senior manager, they are bound to feel much more special and are likely to have a great experience communicating with your company. Of course, all employees need to be properly trained to provide exquisite customer care and they also need to be aware of the significance of the job they’re doing.
Building a brand is a long and painstaking process sometimes, which can be easily destroyed if not aspects are given sufficient appropriate attention. Customer support is not just something that is supposed to solve problems, but it is also a powerful tool that has a great effect on brand identity, which means it should be addressed with the same kind of energy as some other aspects of brand building.