Stop Branding your Brand, you have doing it all wrong – Part 3 / 4

People – The Drivers of Success

 About 85% of branding activities carried out today occur in our daily interactions (a tweet, a Facebook status update, a blog post, email, etc.). Everyday, hundreds and even thousands of conversations take place between your customers and your employees. It is imperative that your employees are well trained to become strong ambassadors of your brand. After all, your people are the front liners of your company, and they represent your brand.

Lead generation has always been a costly activity. For effective and measurable results, you would have to invest a lot of effort, resources and time. The last thing you want after investing in all the hard work, money and time is for your customers to be driven away by your employees’ lack of professionalism and proficiency.

 In today’s competitive business environment, customer service is no longer a luxury; it is a necessity. Every customer that interacts with your brand is expecting some level of customer service from you.

After all the marketing effort you have put in to create hype for your business and attract customers to your store, you sure don’t want to surprise them with horrible customer service.

Interactions between your customers and your employees can occur through various methods of communication varying from a face-to-face meeting to a telephone conversation or even an email correspondence.

In every conversation, the customer is feeling and amassing his or her shopping experience with your brand. I cannot stress on this enough – a poor customer experience would ruin everything that you have built so far.

And I can vouch for that from my personal experience at a certain Chinese restaurant. On this fateful day, my family and I were out dining at a Chinese restaurant where we ordered four dishes and rice. Three out of the four dishes were served around the same time and so, we started indulging in our dinner.

However, the last dish took ages to arrive at the table; it was not ready even after we had finished our dinner. It only came after we had signaled for our bill.

I politely told the waitress what had happened and told her of my intention to cancel the dish, but she brushed it off by responding that the dish had required a longer cooking time. While I agreed with her, I explained to her again that since we had just finished our dinner, there was no way we were going to eat it anymore.

Although she did eventually take the amount of the dish off our total bill, her reluctance to understand the problem and unwillingness to assist her customers sincerely has left a bad taste in our mouths.

Needless to say, we never went back to that restaurant again, not because of the food (in fact, the food was more than delicious), but because of the unpleasant experience that we have had with its people.

Another example which comes to mind is a shopping mall that was newly opened a couple of years back, which featured state-of-the-art facilities and the latest designs. Shortly after its grand opening, however, people began complaining about the escalators and lifts, which were not fully functional. Additionally, very few signage was put up to direct people properly, causing a lot of confusion among shoppers.

Some of these shoppers actually took to the mall’s Facebook page to post their complaints and vent their frustrations. But instead of rectifying the problem with a sincere apology for causing inconvenience to the shoppers, the mall’s Facebook page administrator had responded rudely by commenting, “This is a new mall, what the he** do you expect?”

Well, as you may have guessed, the response went viral on Facebook and attracted, even more, keyboard warriors who strongly criticized the management’s unprofessional handling of the issue. In the end, without much of an option, the mall released an apology statement for the rude comment it had posted and closed down its Facebook page to prevent further damage.

The moral of the story is this: in business, there are bound to be hurdles and obstacles that come your way from time to time. You have to ensure that your people know how to respond and handle every situation efficiently and effectively. And you can do this by equipping your team with regular training.

Remember! Your people represent your brand, and you cannot build a positive brand experience by spending millions on advertisements while spending pennies on your people.

…to be continue

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