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SME Branding Lesson #17 – Expect the Unexpected

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It may be a very obvious detail of shaping a customer’s brand experience, but the fact that I had two reactions from the same brand representatives in the same shop made me wonder if it is something to think about a bit more as part of staff training.
I had used my smartphone all day and was literally left with an important call to make from town and 1% battery left.
I thought ‘why don’t I just pop in at my local mobile phone supplier and ask them for a few percent of their electricity?’ I approached a member of staff who was alone in the shop and kindly stopped whatever phone call he was making at the time. When I explained, he said all I could do is buy a new charger and use it there.
I didn’t think it was worth it and was left feeling a bit disappointed about the lack of empathy and non-apparent creativity in dealing with my plea for help. Just as I was about to leave to try elsewhere, his colleague came in and asked what I needed and quickly suggested I just use one of the cables they use when sorting people’s phones out. Easy! We chatted for ten minutes and I walked away with enough charge to make my call and a much needed brand love boost from T-mobile.
I don’t understand why the first person didn’t have the guts or brains to think outside the staff manual. It was a bit of an unusual request, I know, but the shop was empty, Friday afternoon, and no harm was coming their way by offering to help.
The self-initiative of the other shop assistant really made a difference to my brand experience and I am passing on my good opinion about the brand – more so then I would ever do when seeing an advert or marketing campaign.
When you are dealing with clients, no matter how large or small your organisation, working on great customer interactions to create and maintain a food reputation should be one of the most fundamental things to consider.
Even if a consumer proves difficult or hard to please, giving up on him could be the route to mediocre customer service and a ‘why bother’ attitude that will spread into other areas of the business and effect not just the brand but also ultimately the product or service.
Branding is all about creating that connection with a product, that warm feeling of goodness and positivity about a company, so the more human the ‘corporate machine’ can appear, the more it has a chance to be a success.
If you manage to train your brand representatives to act in the manner you want your business to be perceived, even the weirdest and unusual situations will be not just a challenge, but a much cheaper and more sincere way to surprise and be remembered than the most ingenious ad campaign.

Brand Managment, customer service

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