As a sales leader, it’s critical that you don’t underestimate the importance of providing consistent customer service, messaging, and branding company-wide. As marketing develops a brand image, sales must be sure to sell with that image in mind, and service must meet customer needs based on what both marketing and sales have promised — none of which can be addressed until you’ve broken down departmental silos and developed service level agreements.
John Goodman, VP of Customer Care Measurement & Consulting LLC, discusses the importance of delivering an aligned service experience: “When service is not aligned with the brand image, it dilutes the brand’s message and leads to unmet customer expectations, customer dissatisfaction, and decreased loyalty.”
Marketing, sales, and service must collaboratively establish the overall brand experience you want to portray to customers. With an agreed-upon experience, customers and prospects will encounter similar communication no matter who they’re talking to in the company. Goodman has developed nine “building blocks” that can help every team get on the same page in delivering excellent, customer service:
#1 Clear brand promise.
Many of the world’s most prominent companies use their strong history and brand legacy to demonstrate to customers and employees the promise that their brand carries today.
#2 Clear accountability for the brand.
Every level of your company — from the executive level to new hires — should be held accountable for upholding the tenets of your brand in everyday work.
#3 Focused values that are operationalized.
Companies with strong values that play out in their day-to-day customer experience have found clever ways to incorporate their values into their culture and business operations. One way that companies do this is by developing and spreading key “catchphrases” that employees find meaningful and can apply to their customer interactions.
#4 Measurement and feedback.
Companies that are committed to delivering a consistent, holistic customer experience make sure they are doing so through soliciting customer feedback on satisfaction and employee competency.
#5 Formal process.
Companies with strong brands “have a formally defined process for developing new services and integrating new corporate acquisitions to ensure brand consistency as early as possible.” Such companies have detailed processes in place to ensure that no new solution goes to market without being aligned under the parent brand.
#6 Ongoing communication to everyone.
Companies use rich storytelling to share brand messaging from the highest levels down to entry-level employees. Such communication can occur via scheduled trainings, briefings and meetings, informative quarterly newsletters, and by ensuring that everyone has access to timely, relevant information on demand via a web portal.
#7 Emotional connections with customers.
Businesses with positive customer experiences have found impactful ways to connect with their customers. For instance, your sales reps could make personal calls to customers already passed on to the service team and check in to ensure they’re satisfied with what they were sold.
#8 Employees who deliver the brand.
Goodman explains: “Brand-aligned organizations that employ people who fit the brand image understand that if they can hire individuals with the right psychological attributes, they can teach them the necessary skills.” In short, hire employees that will be dedicated to sharing your company values with customers.
#9 Customized brand for different market segments.
When developing brand messaging, companies with strong brands think holistically but also account for how they’ll share their story with smaller segments of their target market for maximum impact.
With a collaborative approach to crafting a brand experience, sales, marketing, and service can all ensure customers have positive interactions at every company touchpoint.