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For many brands, marketing strategy largely centers on branded content, influencer outreach, and search engine optimization. As effective as these methods might be, they don’t account for the impact that customer service has on your brand. From building your brand identity to responding to blog comments to interacting on social media, learn how customer service affects your marketing strategy.
Image via Flickr by TruckPR
Whether you’ve been working hard to build a brand for years or you’re just starting to carve out your identity, you know that the process involves much more than just a flashy logo, a cool name, or an in-demand product. Your brand essentially encompasses the promise you make to your customers, so it demonstrates who you are, what you deliver, and how your company stands apart from competitors.
If you think branding sounds like the ideal arena for customer service initiatives, you’re right. That’s why it’s essential for stakeholders to develop a comprehensive approach to customer service that meshes with your brand identity.
Take the time to educate employees both online and in physical stores about your business’s brand identity and appropriate ways to incorporate it into their customer service tasks. This could include maintaining a particular tone during interactions with customers, addressing issues within a certain period of time, or achieving a specified level of customer satisfaction.
Keep in mind that building a strong brand identity can be an expensive proposition, and providing effective customer service requires an additional outlay of resources. However, neglecting to offer customer service at all or providing insufficient outreach can cost your business even more.
Remember that news spreads quickly, especially when you take blogs and social media into account. No matter how strong your brand identity is or how positive your reviews are, one bad customer experience can significantly impact your image. Since 84 percent of people trust online reviews as much as they do personal recommendations from friends and family, providing excellent customer service every time is essential.
Monitoring your brand image online is also critical. If you catch a bad review quickly, strong customer service may give you the chance to win that customer back and boost your image at the same time. You’ll rarely have a second chance to fix bad customer service, however, and reinforcing a negative customer experience can have catastrophic effects on your brand image.
Whether your company has an active blog or you’ve just begun to map out what a dynamic blog could look like for your brand, chances are that you think of it from a content marketing perspective only. While great content, top-notch SEO, and lead generation may be the primary purposes for your blog, they shouldn’t be your only objectives.
In fact, your brand’s blog is the ideal place to demonstrate your company’s stellar approach to customer service. In order to do this, however, you’ll need to stop thinking of your blog as a static space where you simply publish your fine-tuned content and let it speak for itself.
Instead, consider redefining your company blog as an online space for discussion. Open the comments and craft your blog posts to invite reactions, responses, and feedback. Invite current and prospective customers to ask questions and get personal with your brand, and provide assurance that your company will respond appropriately.
Regardless of whether you ask questions that guide readers’ comments or simply open the floor for discussion, your team will need to prepare to put their best customer service feet forward. That means developing on-brand scripts to respond to frequent comments or commonly asked questions. It also means establishing objectives for response levels and times as well as goals for comment numbers.
Don’t hesitate to evaluate your approach as frequently as necessary. After all, this is an opportunity that you don’t want to let slip by. Giving clients quick and effective access to your team through your blog gives you the chance to establish a reputation for providing great customer service. Nearly a quarter of consumers seek out a business that offers great customer service for two additional years after a good experience, while high earners with extra purchasing power are most likely to avoid doing business with a company for years after a negative experience.
Don’t let your online customer service initiatives stop with your blog. Incorporate them into your social strategy to give customers a reliable experience and benefit from clients willing to pay up to 21 percent more for excellent service.
Providing customer service via Facebook and Twitter gives clients the chance for real-time feedback and meaningful engagement. If you offer quick responses and help customers resolve issues in a reasonable amount of time, you’ll also build trust and ensure that your brand stays relevant on social media.
Of course, not all customer service involves solving problems or responding to questions. Your customer service strategy for Facebook, Twitter, and your other main social channels should also include informing followers about upcoming specials, timely promotions, and new products and services. With such a comprehensive, customer-oriented social plan, you can also boost sales while keeping your followers in the loop.
If you aren’t convinced that it’s worthwhile to spend the necessary time and resources to establish an effective customer service strategy, make sure you understand the true potential of good customer service. About 70 percent of people prefer to spend money with businesses that offer great customer service, and many of them become repeat customers. Generating sales from new prospects has just a 5 to 20 percent chance of success, while you have a 60 to 70 percent chance of getting repeat business from existing customers. You could streamline your sales cycle substantially just by offering great customer service.
As you fine-tune your company’s online marketing strategy, don’t let customer service take a backseat. From defining your brand to inserting personality into your social media channels to providing outreach on your blog, customer service offers the ideal avenue to boost your brand online.