Why Great Customer Service Is Key To A Positive Brand Reputation

January 21, 2023

What people say about mindStart’s great customer service

  • Our Agents Truly Care
  • Our Agents Are Calm
  • Our Agents Catch the Client’s Vision
  • Our Agents Go the Extra Mile! (Chick-fil-A Model)
  • Many of our Clients’ customers compliment our team members after their interactions, highlighting the excellent customer support our team provided.

Great article by Lisa Kent, Forbes Councils Member, that aligns well with our philosophy.

Great customer service experiences are few and far between, so when you have a good one, it makes a serious impression. Today, most companies don’t let their customers connect, hear a live voice — a positive one, at that — and build loyalty to the brand. An interaction with customer service is often the first step toward alienation, not bonding. But for brands that do it right, the contact makes a different kind of impact — a good one.

For example, in my personal experience, 1-800-Contacts offers one of the best customer service experiences in the U.S. What does their customer service team do right?

Dial them from any of your phones (assuming you’ve called before), and they greet you — cheerfully — by name. My calls have never been put on hold, and a live voice answers right away. They retrieve your prior prescription or, if it is new or has changed, offer to reach out to the eye doctor for you to get it updated. They offer various product and shipping options, and a confirmation email is dispatched within seconds. I’ve never had a shipment delayed either.

Why is this important? Because the process and interaction are so pleasant that I never even consider ordering via another retailer or eye doctor. I don’t check pricing either. It’s hard to buy loyalty that deep.

Contrast this with my recent experience with my medical insurance company. I feel no allegiance to them, even though I might have to switch doctors if I switched plans. A change in my insurance card led to the rejection of a series of bills. Trying to get things straightened out took months, many unpleasant interactions and a total of five combined hours on hold.

As they seek to reduce costs, many companies and organizations are moving away from live interactions, preferring instead to offer a chatbot feature on their website or to direct inquiries online. This is a crucial missed opportunity. A live interaction — of course, a satisfying one — has the power to instill a very different brand message and sense of connection.

Tony Hsieh of Zappos views the phone as a key differentiator for the company’s legendary customer service. In an article, he says, “We’re actually experimenting with ways to get more people to call because it’s such a valuable marketing and brand builder for us.”

As CEO of Netgrocer, the nation’s first online supermarket, I used to say that a consumer who called us with a complaint should turn out to be our most loyal consumer. This is an opportunity, not a problem.

Your customers should be impressed with their lack of wait time (none), contact (upbeat, can-do attitude and personal) and an immediate resolution to their complaint. They should hang up feeling like they want to order even more from you.

I personally took calls from some of the most irate customers and found the greatest satisfaction in turning them into evangelists for our services. Twenty years later, I still remember some of their names, and I’m confident they’d remember having their issues resolved by the company’s CEO. We made this our mantra: “There’s nothing more important than delighting our customers with the products they want, delivered when they want them, often with a surprise tucked inside.”

In an HBR article written by Bruce Jones, the senior director at Disney Institute, he writes: “Here at Disney, we believe a common purpose is instrumental in consistently providing exceptional guest interactions. It is the compass that guides our Cast Members and inspires them to go above and beyond.”

I’m often asked about the keys to success with customer service. Here are my top five:

• Your customer service reps need to genuinely care. The people who play this role for a company must be empathetic and want to be handling service. With the wrong people, you’ll get the wrong result. I have a friend who says that people may not remember when someone was kind, but they will definitely remember if someone was not.

• Know and reinforce the company’s vision. Everyone representing your company must know its vision and consider themselves an evangelist for the company. This is especially true for those in customer service since these employees are right on the front lines.

• Realize that little things matter a lot. A friendly ear, personal greeting or small refund for a damaged box can make a difference to the customer who has taken the time to get in touch.

• Don’t let emotions decide. Often, customer interactions can be highly emotional. The customer is typically angry and frustrated, but the customer service rep cannot be. Expect to deal with people at their worst and have a goal of returning them to happiness or at least to satisfaction.

• Never skimp. Little things really do matter. But don’t view a refund or even an offer for a free future trip as just one trip or purchase. It’s an investment in the future lifetime value of this customer (and everyone he or she tells).

To build a reputation for your company or brand, don’t skimp on customer service. And that means maintaining and showcasing your phone number. It can be the reason more customers come to your business and current customers stay loyal.