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4 Lessons On How Customer Service Is Your Brand

February 26th, 2013 ::

Customer serviceIt’s not a secret that your brand is very closely tied to you and your employees. The customer service you provide speaks volumes about your company and values and leaves a very strong impression – for good or for bad.

Scott Stratten, President of UnMarketing and author of The Book of Business Awesome, put together a great Slideshare presentation for Citrix about how you can take your company from good to awesome. It’s worth reading, as I am not really going to share what is in the presentation.

What I am going to share is 3 lessons in branding via customer service that he provided – as well as one of my own. All of the stories drive home the fact that you and your employees are a critical part of your brand.

The Ritz-Carlton Goes Above and Beyond

When a little boy left behind his favorite stuffed animal, Joshie, following a family vacation, the Ritz-Carlton didn’t just mail it back posthaste. Nope, the employees took photos of Joshie enjoying his extended vacation – on a chaise lounge by the pool, on the golf course, hanging with friends, getting a massage, etc. When Joshie arrived home, the photos were enclosed, along with his own Ritz-Carlton employee ID. As you can imagine, this story went viral.

A CEO Saves the Day

A few years ago, my husband went to Neiman Marcus to buy me a Tom Binns necklace as a surprise birthday present. When the jewelry counter employee refused to help my husband track down the necklace, my husband went straight to the source: Tom Binns. The company’s CEO was horrified by my husband’s experience, and she personally packed and mailed the necklace, including a handwritten note. My husband and the CEO are now on a first-name basis, and we tell this story every time I wear the necklace. I am not a big jewelry person, but I am a big Tom Binns fan.

A Delta Flight Attendant Said What?

Stratten was waiting on an impossibly long security line on his way to a Delta flight at JFK. He was nearly at the front of the line, when a crew of Delta flight attendants pushed their way to the front of the line, bumping and pushing Statten without a word. When he said, “Come on now. Not even an ‘excuse me?’” he got a nasty retort from one flight attendant, “We said excuse me. Why don’t you open your ears?” Stratten jumped on Twitter, where he has more than 135,000 followers, and got a reply and apology from Delta pretty quickly.

FedEx Employee Plays Catch

This is another story that went viral. A FedEx employee was caught on video chucking a computer monitor over a gate at someone’s house. Instead of ringing the bell and walking it up to the house, he decided to play catch – with the ground. FedEx had to go into major crisis control mode. They responded super fast and published a blog post on their corporate page titled, “Absolutely, Positively Unacceptable” and their senior vice president of U.S. operations recorded a video to apologize. The response was overwhelmingly positive.

So, how do you ensure your employees represent your brand more like the Ritz-Carlton and Tom Binns and less like Neiman Marcus, Delta, and FedEx?

  • Be passionate about your work and customers
  • Show your employees how they make a difference
  • Empower your employees to help customers – and then recognize or reward them for it
  • If you need to apologize, do it swiftly and genuinely

How has customer service improved or hurt your experience with a brand?

Image courtesy of postcardmania.com

The views expressed here are the author's alone and not those of Network Solutions or its partners.

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