Guest Post by Fred Zimny, Editor of serve4impact.com and Senior service professional.
These are challenging times for us working in customer service.
Many brands have fallen from grace lately. I was raised with good old Philips-household supplies, photographed with Minolta and Kodak and still drive a Saab. My working assumption is that brand managers in these companies will say that they encountered fierce competition and strong impact of regulations. But as a customer, a professional and as a person we do not take this argument. It was the job of the company to meet my (changing and changing) needs in such a way that maintaining the relationship would benefit all parties involved. Just as it my job to meet the changing requirements of all those i have to serve.
Customer service has also become digital and social (just like marketing and media).
And now – in the aftermath of the great financial recession I and II – you see that organiations, institutions and professionals put more and more design energy into their branding. Redesigning websites, modernizing logo’s and being on every relevant social media channel.
Great to see how a transition takes place in customer service. With a nasty impact on your own professional brand.
But wait, is branding not about a promise to deliver? And even more important on the enterprise level, branding is also about positioning in the heart of customers.
I am not a brand specialist nor am i a designer. But having worked in customer service in large Dutch organizations encountering major transitions during the last two decades one thing has become clear for me. A brand name, a new brand logo is not the brand. Branding is fun, it is exciting and it challenging to work in any rebranding projects with creative design minds.
But again, branding is about a promise to deliver. And most important, to achieve better results than your competitors outside or inside your company.
A brand promise is an essential ingredient of anyone’s customer journey. Just as in real life, promises matter that much for people. Promises creates contexts for people. So those promises should become an essential part of any branding strategy, at the enterprise level or the professional level. And the execution of the promises is the essential part of your customer service operations and for your professional career
Branding is much more that functional value from a company’s or employee’s perspective. Branding – in strategy and operations – is about how to fulfill the emotional and functional needs of your customers, leads, yourself and even other stakeholders (like your spouse)
And for those working in customer service, this will not become easy. Many of us are still working in offline environments with legacy technology approaches. Even more challenging is that in an social era a shift takes place in the underlying concepts of value creation and distribution.
Will it be easy for us – customer service – to make such a shift?
I am sure that it will be hard for anyone of us. But, starting such a journey enables you to create a life full of promises associated with your own professional and personal brand.
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