Monday, October 22, 2007

The customer is always right!

What is it they say - "If it wasn't for the customers, business would be a joyous thing!" Have you ever wondered what your customers think of you and thus by extension -your brand? If you are addressing your brand strategy correctly, you are striving to build strong relationships with your customers. You are probably doing your utmost to make sure that their every touch point with your company is a good experience. Do you have processes in place that addresses any problems that may arise? You don't want your customer to dance around voice mail hell or get the cold shoulder by service managers. Customer service should be exactly that 'service'.

What we all must respect is the customer's opinion. Some times for whatever reason, the customer may have a negative opinion of your brand. The opinion may even be based on something which is simply untrue, but the bottom line is the customer is always right. Nobody says you have to do business with them again, you only have to make it right. Regardless of how you 'truly feel', it is always best to take the high road and get the matter behind you both and move on. The value of your brand is much more important than making a few grudge points by laying into the customer just to make sure they understand your position. Believe me, over the past 25 years I've wanted to tear a few heads off, but thought better of the idea to make sure that I don't burn any bridges and that my reputation stays on a purely professional level.

What do you do to make your customer's experience a great one? Do you give thank you gifts at Christmas? Do you track their birthdays, anniversary's etc. and send out cards? One way I impact my customer's experience with me is to put myself in front of them personally. Today many of us are way to eager to take the easy way out and rely solely on voice, email and texting as our main point of contact with our customers. This can result in a large branding problem based on the fact that this expedient contact eliminates any personal connection to you. Your are easy to replace, since you have no personal contact. You are much like a price-based brand connection. The next cheapest price, replaces you. I make it a point to get face to face contact as much as possible. This also gets me additional business.

So I suggest infusing some low tech contact to make your brand valuable. This personal relationship goes a long way to smoothing rough waters when situations do arise. A customer is more likely to cut you some slack if they know "You". We also know for a fact that how we handle rough waters reflects in many ways what our brand represents. How you handle a customer's problem, if it is done correctly and on-brand, will turn that customer into a long term advocate for you. It pays that customers are right. In the business world, a customer's perception of your brand is as important as the reality of your brand. They must work in unison - this forms the bond of a great brand relationship.


Anonymous said...

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Ed Roach said...


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