This week I have had some incredibly disappointing customer service experiences, with brands that I have been loyal to for over 5 years. (Brand loyalty these days is like dog years, right?) I have not felt valued at all.
It is very important to understand the existing and aspirational values that you and your brand have. But it is even more important to understand that your everyday actions show you hold and believe those values.
Often teams and companies will spend an enormous amount of time trying to determine the perfect sounding brand promise. You can have beautiful prose and text on your website promising your dedication to specific beliefs. And you do probably believe them - but how do you and your team show you truly value them. How does every person in your company practice their values through actions on a daily basis? How do they keep one another accountable for these actions that ultimately create your company culture.
Brand actions - how you act, what you do, how you do it - every interaction is how you show what you value and the type of company you really are.
Customer service is the ultimate expression of brand and personal values.
If your brand states 'innovation and individualism' then your behaviour must demonstrate that in very interaction. Customer service must treat people as valued individuals with unique needs. For example, remember (and record) specific details about likes, dislikes and challenges. Don’t make your customer have to repeat and explain these over and over - like no one is listening.
It will also be difficult for your team to show your values if you don’t have the process and infrastructure to support them. If your brand’s value is innovation and individualism, you need to be innovative! Use contemporary messaging platforms and methods for example, and a customer information system that allow for differentiation.
This is equally important for small businesses and start ups as it is for large retailers and consumer goods brands. The fastest and most accurate way to express and show your values is in your everyday interactions. Everyone has customers, and who these people are going to be, and how you are going to treat them is your customer service.
As Maya Angelou said, “….people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”
How do people - your customers - feel after any interaction with you and your company? What values do you show and uphold with your customer service?