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Customer Service Can Make or Break Your Brand: Eight Steps for Success

by Barbara Bix  |  
August 22, 2011

In this article, you'll learn...

  • How to protect your brand's reputation
  • Post-sales steps to enhance your brand and boost the customer experience

The company clearly understood the market. Early reviewers praised the product's performance. The product included all the right features and benefits.

It was obvious that the company had made a significant investment in branding its flagship solution. The name was short, crisp, and evocative. The logo was memorable. The promotion was compelling, frequent, and consistent.

At the heart of the company's pitch was the implication of a threat to my business if I continued to operate without its product. So I made a special trip to the store to purchase it right away.

Broken Promises Damage Brands

The problem was I couldn't install the product. What's more, it took 24 hours to locate someone who could.

After several hours on hold and several managers' promises to escalate the issue, I finally reached someone at the company's headquarters who succeeded in connecting me with a service person authorized to resolve the problem. She entered a functioning code, and the installation began in a matter of minutes.

The trouble was that in the intervening 24 hours, the company's failure to deliver on its promise had tarnished its reputation. Due to a series of post-sales mishaps, the company had counteracted months of well-executed marketing investments. What a shame.

Eight Steps You Can Take to Protect Your Brand

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Barbara Bix is managing principal of BB Marketing Plus, where she helps companies enhance their brands by capturing and enhancing the customer experience.

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  • by Autumn Edmiston Mon Aug 22, 2011 via web

    The key to this article is customer service! With all the e-newsletters, social media, white papers - there's so much focus on promoting the message that we sometimes lose focus on the customer and taking care of them! Remember the customer keeps your lights on!

  • by Michele Hockwalt Tue Aug 23, 2011 via web

    Customers have clear expectations of products and services. Your marketing makes promises that lead to those expectations. A business ends up with a "customer service issue" when those expectations are not met. Make sure you are promising only what you can deliver consistently if you want to nurture your brand. I think of McDonald's, who very clearly promises fast, consistent, affordable meals. Few customers get angry when they don't get excellent customer service with a friendly smile at McDonald's, but they do get riled up if the restaurant is slow or if their food is cold or incorrect.

  • by Jeffrey Sears Wed Aug 24, 2011 via web

    This article is really a "no duh" statement. Not very an epiphany I would say. But I cant tell you how many companies fall on their face when it comes to customer service. It's why I will never buy an HP product only Apple, or why I will never fly Delta but United, never shop at WalMart but love Target. It's all about the customer experience. The Social Enterprise gets this. Check out how the frequently publicly dissed TicketMaster is now winning fans by integrating Facebook so your can see what seats your friends are sitting at a concert before you buy. Very customer centric and creating value through Social Meia. Read my blog on this and more. Jeffreysearsblog dot com

  • by Marilyn Edelson Thu Aug 25, 2011 via web

    Great article, Barbara. . . as always! Self-evident but rarely articulated. I've had so much bad service lately and so little accountability. These would be great if turned into a Customer Bill of Rights! -Marilyn

  • by Barbara Bix Thu Aug 25, 2011 via web

    Thanks for all your comments! Clearly, this article strikes a chord--as you all seem to share similar thoughts. Yet, as Jeffrey notes, service continues to be an issue. Know anyone that has used Marilyn's "Customer Bill of Rights" idea to elevate their brand above the competition? Did it make a difference? For what products and services is service truly a differentiator--and when will people buy despite unsatisfactory service?

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