November 8, 2011
We all know that the gap between a customer’s expectations and the service they receive is huge. Customers are increasingly knowledgeable about products and demand value-added, personalized service. Businesses struggle with understanding which initiatives will move the needle in a positive direction and are thus worth investing in. Here is the second tip in my 10-part blog series on how to master the service experience.
Step 2: Is your customer service aligned with your company brand?
Meeting the needs of your customers are important. However, it’s just as important to stay true to your brand and design a service experience that supports your value proposition. Customers need to know what your company represents — which is especially important in the message-cluttered social media world that we live in — and have this brand reinforced every time they interact with you during the sales process, and for every interaction after the initial sale.
These companies have aligned their service offering to help reinforce their brand with their customers:
- Apple. Its products are high-style and priced at a premium. Apple’s customer service is very much in line with its brand. The firm delivers customer service on the customer’s terms — you can arrange a phone call with an Apple Expert who specializes in your exact question and can talk with them now or later at your convenience. They’ll even call you. You can email Apple or browse its extensive knowledge base.
- IKEA. Its products are high-style but do-it-yourself. IKEA shoppers are comfortable with serving themselves — from pulling products off shelves to self-checkout to self-assembly. IKEA’s service mirrors its brand. The firm has exhaustive web self-service in a multitude of languages, a chat bot, some email support, and limited phone support. You are not disappointed with its lack of white-glove service because you would never expect it from IKEA — it’s not the business model.
One type of service offering is not better than the other; they are both good because they align with and reinforce the company brand.
Have you asked yourself what your company’s value proposition is? Do your service operations reinforce your brand? If not, why? What could you be doing better?
- application development & delivery
- business process management (BPM)
- customer experience
- customer relationship management (CRM)