Customer Service Makes The Difference in Marketing Your Brand

Do you realize how much customer service affects your reputation and brand?

Customer service affects your brandWhen a consumer purchases a product, and everything goes as expected, their view of the product brand is hardly influenced. If that same consumer purchases a product and then discovers an issue or defect with that product, their view of the product decreases of course. However, if that same company then solves the problem in a fast, easy and friendly manner, the consumer’s view of the brand increases enormously. This part of the sales process is called the “Follow-Up” stage (more about this in the future).

iPhone 4 dropped calls an example of Apple customer serviceWhile I am not suggesting that you sell a defective product or service that will invariably require repair work on your part, consider the Apple iPhone 4. The iPhone 4 had a hardware problem that resulted in dropped calls and reception problems. While Apple never wanted to admit there was a problem, it eventually offered a rubber bumper that helped prevent interference when touching the lower left hand corner.

When they finally offered a (free) solution, Apple had much happier customers. Imagine how much happier their customers felt about having an iPhone that now worked correctly when they used it, compared to the happiness they would have felt if it had worked correctly from the beginning. Consumers now perceive the brand in a much better image because when they DID have a problem, it was fixed swiftly and efficiently.

What incentive was there for Apple to fix their product (if they suspected there was a defect) when they knew that publicly having an issue and then solving it would have a much more positive effect on their brand?

I have experienced this interesting concept first-hand as well. Thankfully, when I purchased my car, I also bought the extended warranty through the dealership….

Recently, I had a bit of a problem with water leaking into my car, not a dealership fault, but not my fault either so it fell into the realm of the extended warranty. I took my car into the dealership on 5 different occasions and never once did they complain. (Yes, it was annoying that they couldn’t fix it the first time! But at least they kept taking it back until I was satisfied.) They have done their utmost to keep me as a happy and satisfied customer and even threw in a free service (even though I have never used them to service the car – in fact, I have never spent anything at the dealership beyond the initial purchase price of the car over a year ago).

Interestingly enough, I now have a more positive view of the dealership despite the issues that the car has had. This is because they have been so willing to take my car back, check it, and fix it without complaint. Even I laugh at how I now feel a greater sense of loyalty to them.

Questions to Consider Before You Hire a Designer

Before approaching a graphic or web designer to start your next project, take a moment to consider your company, your product and what you want to achieve with this project, whether it is a logo design, a new website, a product flyer or a new corporate redesign.

When starting a project, your designer should ask these questions to help him or her better understand how the project needs to progress. These questions are vital to developing or reorienting your corporate identity and creating a more effective brand. I have simplified the questions here and will be posting a more detailed questionnaire on my website shortly.

Consider your answers carefully, you may even need to take a break and review it at a later point.

Why do you want (your current project)?
You may want a website to provide information to customers, to increase your online traffic, or as a way to sell your product. You may want a logo in order to have a distinctive symbol that visibly differentiates you from your competitors, but are you considering it as a standalone item or as just one part of your brand?

What is your business/company?
This includes your company philosophy and your long-term goals in addition to the products or services you provide to your customers.

What separates you from your competitors?

What pain/problem does your business solve?
What ‘pains’ do your customers experience? How do you relieve these pains?

Who is your target market?
Who will be buying your product or service? Consider demographics such as age, gender and income as well as psychographics such as their lifestyle and interests.

What is your budget?
What are you prepared to spend? Are you able to pay for extra necessary features that may be discovered during this research process?

What is your timeline?
What is your deadline? What needs to happen along the way?

What do you NOT want in this project?
If there are definite elements you do not want to appear in the project, be sure to let your designer know from the beginning. Even if you aren’t quite sure what you do want, you can help narrow down the scope by listing what you do not want.

What are your long-term plans with this project?
Consider whether you initial requirements allow room for growth in the future. Your project may require extra work in the initial stages to create a smoother transition a few years down the road.

While this is just an initial search into the motivations behind your project, your designer will appreciate that you have already taken the time to consider these questions before they even meet with you.