The other day I read something in the brand and marketing Twittersphere that went something like this:
“The only people who care about brands are the people who work on them – no-one else gives a shit. If a brand disappears, the world will just go on as normal.”
There is an element of truth to this. It’s always easy to overstate the importance in global terms of something you happen to have a particular interest in. It happens all the time in politics, sport, universities, and places of work all over the world.
But I’m not sure I agree with the thought entirely.
Most people don’t care about most things, that’s just the way it works. But isn’t the point of creating a brand to at least try and overcome that? To matter to someone? To have achieved a level of important those who *are* interested in your particular field?
If you’ve done it properly, someone should miss you if you ceased to exist – even if everyone else ‘goes on as normal’.
Your aim isn’t to get everyone to ‘give a shit’, but just the right amount of people to make a real impact.
For a large number of consumers, Twitter has become the ‘go-to’ for customer service enquiries. Especially complaints. Tweet your grumble at Virgin Trains and someone will get back to you reasonably promptly, usually in a friendly/amusing way, and your complaint gets dealt with just like that. No need to speak to anyone directly and far quicker than writing an email.
But the thing with customer service is, it’s a hell of a lot more than call-centres and Twitter responses.
It’s become fashionable to re-brand your customer services department to ‘customer experiences’. The idea is a noble one, but the responsibility for your customers’ experiences doesn’t lie at the feet of one department.
From your email newsletter to your salespeople’s manners, the speed with which you process invoices and even the things your company does when you think no-one is watching; everything contributes to the ‘customer experience’.
No one area of the business operates in isolation. Someone is always watching.
After all, ‘experience’ is about how you feel: making a customer feel valued at every touchpoint. Allowing them to connect with your vision and purpose every time they see your name mentioned. Every time.
When you’re building a brand – or in old money, your reputation – you can never let your guard down, you can’t have one team member let the side down. Walking the walk is what you do. ‘Customer services’ is everything.
People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.