6 minute read
Why customer service is key to a strong brand reputation
Updated on January 12, 2021 by Dennis Vu
Your customer service team is often the first and last touchpoint of your brand, thus making them the foundation of your reputation.
Your company is only as good as your worst experience. The internet and social media have given consumers more power than they ever had. Making customers happy is vital for business success. It doesn’t matter if you are a small business or a large conglomerate; listen, respond, and deliver, because word-of-mouth remains the most powerful marketing tool available to any business.
Customer service and reputation are so tightly interwoven that your brand must perform well across the board. This includes direct interactions with customers as well as what’s going on behind the scenes and even when you think no one's watching.
Factors that contribute to your brand’s reputation include:
- How your brand helps the community
- Inclusive business practices
- Customer service and engagement
- Quality and cost-effectiveness of your products and services
- How you interact with your customers and interested parties on social media
This article will discuss how high-quality customer service can establish a strong brand reputation.
Customer service speaks volumes about your company
Your product itself has the potential to make or break your reputation. Before we can start talking about customer service, let’s check in on your product or service offering. The first step in improving your customer service is to create an exceptional product. If your product is great, your customers will be more inclined to leave positive reviews, speak well of your company, and become repeat customers.
Once your product is the best it can be (this includes updating and improving it as necessary), it’s time to work on your customer service strategy. Organize your customer service department with customers in mind. This may seem redundant, but your customer can sometimes get lost in the shuffle. Your customer service department is the backbone of your company and should be organized around your customers, less around your business.
Your customer service department handles issues such as address change, order change, cancellation, and returns. You can also use them to communicate with your customers on a regular basis. Establish a few communication methods such as email, phone, live chat, and social media.
Find out what communication method works best for your audience and provide that method for them. This means your company should have more than a single email address for complaints and automated responses online. You should always be available to answer questions personally as well. It’s important that your customer service representatives be well trained and informed so they can quickly answer any question your customer might have.
To make your customer service team even more accessible, add a click-to-call widget on your website. This can make them feel welcome on all fronts — by letting them reach out in a manner that they prefer.
The way your customer service options are set up can tell the public a lot about your brand before anyone even reaches out to you. For example — if your customer support tool has dedicated phone numbers for plenty of geographical areas:
- Your (small) company will appear bigger than it is, as if it has an office in multiple states
- People will be more comfortable with calling a number with their area code
- Having dedicated numbers will help you build a professional public image
And all of this is achieved with only a small addition — imagine what a couple more of them can do!
Great customer service increases customer loyalty
They say that the best things in life cannot be bought. One of those things is loyalty.
Granted, you can do a lot with paid strategies, but most consumers can see right through those. You’re much better off implementing an online review management strategy that encourages positive reviews and immediately addresses negative ones.
Honest customer reviews are fueled by amazing customer service experiences. If your customer service provides high-quality assistance, turning your customers into public brand advocates will happen without any additional intervention!
In short — satisfied customers will recommend you to others and keep coming back to you.
Customer retention leads to referrals
Here are some compelling stats about customer retention:
- 65% of a company’s business comes from previous customers
- 86% of the customers with great purchase experiences will likely buy from the same company again
- 5% boost in customer retention increases profits 25% to 95%
It’s easy to connect the dots to see what good customer service could mean for your brand.
Focusing on customer service will not only improve your brand image, but it will also bring some more tangible results as well — in the shape of increased profit for your company.
Things get even better when we consider the power of online reviews. People talk — and word of mouth remains one of the most influential generators of future customers:
- 85% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations
- 49% of consumers need at least a four-star rating before they choose to use a business
- Every additional one-star Yelp rating causes an increase in the business’s revenue as high as 9%
Impeccable customer service sets you apart from the competition
Entrepreneurship is on the rise, and you probably have more than a couple of competitors at your heels. Keeping up with them is difficult and employees tend to focus on the offer itself, and how to make it desirable for the masses.
What most people forget is how they’ll speak about their service to people.
If it’s a close call between you and your competitors, people will take customer service into account. That's where you can jump in, with customer support reps ready to instantly help customers and create a pleasant experience.
Bad customer service ruins your brand's image
The costs of repairing an already tarnished brand reputation outweigh the timely efforts by a lot! Some stains won’t rub off no matter how hard you try, too — and once your company gets a bad rep regarding the customer service, it will take an excruciating effort to polish it up.
Social media has tipped the balance of power into your customer’s court. One rogue tweet can snowball into a reputation crisis. One unsatisfied customer can make a YouTube video that can ruin your search engine results.
This is why you should do your best to create a team of empathetic and professional customer support representatives. Prevention is the best cure. A brand known for bad customer service will lose to its close competitor in a heartbeat, no matter how good their product is. People purchase the full experience — assistance and guidance included.
Customer service for ORM FAQs
What affect does customer service have on reputation?
Customer service is closely linked to your brand's online reputation. If your customers have good experiences with your brand, they will be more inclined to speak well of it to their friends and family and leave positive online reviews.
Why are online reviews important?
Online reviews have a direct impact on sales. Half of consumers won't shop at your business if you have less than a four-star rating. Every additional one-star Yelp rating causes an increase in the business’s revenue as high as 9%.
What factors contribute to your online reputation?
How your brand helps the community. Inclusive business practices. Customer service and engagement. Quality and cost-effectiveness of your products and services. How you interact with your customers and interested parties on social media.
All companies, no matter how great their products or services, have to deal with unhappy customers at some point. You’ve probably even had a bad customer experience yourself.
Nothing’s perfect – but there’s a right way and a wrong way to deal with dissatisfied customers. If handled properly, unhappy customers can become repeat customers, making your business more successful. Otherwise, there’s a very good chance that you’ll make matters worse – and lose customers to your competitors.
A professional and effective customer service team that knows how to empathize with customers can do wonders for your reputation. It turns accidental shoppers into loyal brand advocates that attract more customers, and helps you outrun the competition.