Naturally, when it comes to holidays in October, most people immediately think of Halloween – as well they should. However, one lesser-known celebration during the month is National Customer Service Week, dedicated to recognizing customer care providers. These individuals often comprise the voice of an organization, since they speak directly with customers and potential clients. Thus, in many ways, they make up the frontline of the brand itself.
It doesn’t matter if your company employs the best marketers on the planet, who’ve put together a brilliant public-facing strategy. If the people interacting directly with customers don’t make a great impression, it can wreck an organization’s image.
No matter whether you’re a small company or the largest conglomerate, customer care is absolutely essential to building a great brand. So, we’ve listed twenty ways this service can help or hinder your corporate standing.
How Customer Care Helps Your Brand Image
1. Helps Customers Feel Heard
Of course, the most basic aspect of customer care is that it gives your users the opportunity to make their voice known. And this holds true across the history of customer success. Whether they discover a problem with your product or simply want to praise it, people want to offer their views. Simply taking the time to ensure they feel heard when doing so works wonders for an organization’s branding.
In fact, even when customers don’t get the answer they want, adequate attention to their issues can help cement loyalty. Alternatively, if they feel that they’ve wasted their time on a company that doesn’t hear them, they might take their business elsewhere.
So, in your customer care efforts, ensure that you always understand the needs of the person contacting you. That way, even if they get a negative response, they’ll still have had the opportunity to make their voice clear.
2. Demonstrates Willingness to Change and Grow
Hand-in-hand with helping customers feel heard, appropriate customer service demonstrates that your organization takes advice seriously. In other words, you seriously consider the input your users bring to the table. Of course, this doesn’t mean simply making people feel like you’re taking their concerns into account. It demands that you actually do so.
Willingness to change and grow is an indispensable part of business in any sense. Because when organizations stagnate and fail to keep up with trends, they die. So, when a customer offers advice, it pays to take it seriously. After all, it could represent important shifts in the market. And even if someone’s opinion doesn’t come to fruition, attentive listening demonstrates a willingness to hear out new ideas.
3. Shows an Understanding of Individual Needs
Much of the time, customer care entails helping the needs of individuals, not just their wants. For example, with digital products, users might encounter issues keeping them from being able to access them. In this case, adequate service isn’t about listening to an opinion but about understanding that person’s needs. And in many ways, this is more important than entertaining new ideas or wants. If an individual purchases a product, they expect to be able to use it. Whenever this is interrupted, it can hurt an organization’s image.
So, an essential part of branding through customer care is that representatives show appropriate care for the needs of individuals. Often, this means taking a problem on a case-by-case basis. Some individuals might require special attention that others don’t. It all comes down to wanting to help people rather than hoping to make a problem go away.
4. Solves Real Problems Efficiently
Many companies have huge online knowledge bases full of articles to help customers solve their own problems. But sometimes, this information is more a hindrance than a help, and contacting customer care is simply easier. Understandably, organizations do this to make sure the problems getting through to representatives are only those requiring more in-depth help. However, in terms of combatting customer frustration, efficient, personal attention is best.
Live customer support through chat, email, or phone calls represents the opportunity to take care of issues quickly. Furthermore, this sort of interaction can help users better understand how to solve the issue in the future, without contacting support. This sort of efficiency works two ways:
- Users have their issues solved quickly with as little effort on their part as possible.
- Representatives might reduce future ticket volume, because now individuals know how to solve a problem themselves.
Of course, this doesn’t negate the need for a knowledge base. Some users do want to search for answers on their own first. However, forcing users to dig across the internet for a customer care number or chat option quickly becomes infuriating. Instead, make sure to offer clear access to these features.
5. Demonstrates Knowledge of Your Product
One of the inherent benefits of a good customer care team is the opportunity to demonstrate in-depth knowledge of your products. It can be disheartening to speak with a representative who doesn’t seem to know what they’re doing. But on the other hand, support agents who have a working knowledge of the company and its services work toward brand loyalty.
People want to purchase from organizations who seem professional, but they’re less likely to stick with those which seem unsure or confused. So, ensure that your customer care representatives have adequate knowledge and clear lines of communication. That way, even when they don’t know the answer, they know exactly who to contact.
6. Creates a Sense of Personality for Your Brand
Customer support teams often contribute directly to the personality of a brand, because users interact closely with them. So, when representatives are helpful, knowledgeable and kind, they help create a positive image. Alternatively, if support reps are unhelpful, disinterested, and rude, it creates a hostile environment. And more than likely, customers will quickly navigate away from companies of this sort.
As such, ensure that every representative has adequate instruction on how they should interact with users. Because if that’s the only time someone speaks directly with your company, the impression could make a massive difference.
7. Helps Guide Customers to Optimal Solutions
Sometimes, the roll of a customer care representative somewhat ironically means guiding individuals away from your products and company. That’s all right, because your product won’t work well for every person. It’s the duty of support agents to help users determine whether they’ll be better served by another option instead of selling something to someone who won’t benefit from it. Other times, this might mean that you simply guide a person to an optimal solution you do provide.
Regardless, a commitment to the best interest of the user rather than the bottom-line of the company is the hallmark of good customer care. In fact, if your representatives do anything but that, customer care might not be the right term to fit their intentions. People want to know they can trust a company to do what’s right by them. So, that needs to be the primary motivator for your support team.
8. Forms a Caring and Compassionate Tone
As with the other areas of customer support, you don’t want to simply seem like you care. You want to actually show compassion during your interactions. So, when users have a problem, you want to keep away from condescending or haughty attitudes. If people on the team come across this way, they either need more training or a different role. After all, communication with frustrated customers is difficult at the best of times. Doing so over the phone or on an internet chat has the makings of disaster if handled incorrectly.
Fill your team with people who actively want to seek solutions and help people. Because if they can establish this sort of tone, it will carry into their daily interactions. This sort of care and compassion can further highlight the sort of company culture you hope to promote, both internally and externally.
9. Communicates Needs to Organization Leaders
In line with understanding the needs of users, good customer care representatives don’t simply stop at listening. They also communicate the needs of customers to the various organizational leaders who can help bring those ideas to life. For example, if dozens of people every week note that an app would help them more than the organization’s website, reps should bring this to the attention of corporate leaders. And at that point, they’ve done their duty. The decision is out of their hands once its communicated at higher levels.
Customer care providers don’t necessarily have to be the ultimate decision-makers or force behind change. But they do need to adequately understand the needs of customers and, when necessary, communicate it to those who can implement ideas.
10. Creates a Positive Organizational Atmosphere
Adequate support naturally helps create a more positive atmosphere overall. Because when users are happy, the return benefits the company at large. And in well-structured organizations, when the whole succeeds, so too do the parts. Thus, ensuring awesome customer care serves not only the individual users but also the employees and leaders of the organization as well.
11. Contributes to Stronger Brand Reputation
Ultimately, one of the most beneficial aspects of comprehensive support is that users walk away happy. And when that happens, a company’s brand often grows a positive reputation by word-of-mouth. When employees go above and beyond to help customers, it creates the perfect opportunity for those individuals to go and tell others. Likewise, when a user has a particularly bad experience with support, the word will spread.
Of course, not every user will have a great experience. Some people simply cannot be pleased and want to complain. But if the good reports outweigh the negative, it will minimize the impact of disgruntled users.
12. Keeps Things Cost Effective
In a roundabout way, great customer service helps keep prices down. When users are satisfied, they’re more likely to return and purchase again, creating brand loyalty. And when users purchase multiple times, it increases revenue. So long as that revenue continues increasing, it can help offset the prices of materials, labor, and other overhead. In turn, this keeps end-user prices lower. So, in a circular sense, high user satisfaction keeps prices low, generating more positive interactions.
Customer care representatives, naturally, stand at the forefront of this cycle. Because it’s their role to help ensure users walk away satisfied and likely to return, whether their initial experience has been positive or negative.
13. Breaks Down Misconceptions
Thanks to the internet and other sources, misinformation about companies spreads faster than ever before. And unfortunately, these misconceptions can lead to decreases in public opinion, sales, and other areas. However, when given the opportunity, customer care can aid in breaking down these misconceptions. That way, users who might initially have heard bad reports about your organization walk away with a changed mind.
Again, this doesn’t entail denying rumors which are true – because when the facts get out, it will only hurt more. However, where falsehoods have been spread, service agents can help correct and offer users a more accurate understanding.
14. Creates a Sense of Community
Customer care done well actually has the ability to create a sense of belonging, of community. Because rather than pitting the organization against the customer, it brings both together harmoniously to seek answers and solutions. In a sense, it invites the customer to walk alongside the company, so that at the end of the process, they aren’t dragging behind, frustrated and put-out. This shared goal of working toward something together can create positive feelings that bring people back again. And because customer support reps have this sort of direct interaction on a daily basis, creating this sense of shared goals falls largely in their court.
15. Sets Clear Expectations for Products
Depending on what point someone comes in to interact with support or help centers, representatives can help set clearer expectations. For example, if someone asks before purchasing what the life of a product is, they can get a clear expectation. And because potential customers recognize the limitations and benefits of purchasing beforehand, they minimize frustration and buyer’s remorse.
All said, setting clear expectations from the start is a great start to preventing the need for support after purchasing. It helps users know what they’re getting and guides them toward the best solutions for their needs.
16. Reveals the Organization’s Human Side
Chatbots have made it incredibly simple to offer streamlined support for users online. However, this unfortunately removes the human element and intuitiveness that live support agents bring to the table. One of the best aspects of customer care is that it allows the customer to know they’re interacting with someone who, like themselves, have thoughts, feelings, emotions, and needs. And even though the organization technically isn’t a living thing, this sort of interaction helps humanize the company overall as well.
It’s easy to see organizations as machines, made of inanimate parts that simply churn out products. But customer care helps combat that view, reminding people that the workers are just as human as they are.
17. Lays a Foundation of Trust
Customer care helps pour a foundation of trust that companies can build upon. Because when users feel like they can take an organization at face value without worrying about ulterior motives, they’re more likely to stick around. Support centers help create this trust through their various interactions by helping guide users to the solutions that work best for them, not the company.
Often enough, the user’s needs and the company’s solutions will overlap. But whenever they don’t, representatives need to be up-front and say something. That way, even if potential customers walk away, they’re left with a positive outlook. Even “could have been” customers can turn others into actual purchasers, but it all begins with trust and a good experience.
18. Understands Where the Market is Headed
Naturally, different departments in an organization stand responsible for determining where the market is headed. Managers and leaders need to know how to forecast. Strategists and marketers themselves need to have a good grasp as well. However, customer support is a fantastic resource in helping determine these trajectories. Because they interact directly with customers, they know what their users want. They can help gauge the reactions of people to different ideas and changes. But they can also highlight functions and services that people are asking for.
Overall, customer care reps might not be most responsible for determining the trajectory of an organization. However, their insight can be critical when shaping those new paths forward.
19. Forges Stronger Bonds and Partnerships
Often, whenever other companies hope to forge partnerships, the first method of contact is customer support. And since representatives are responsible for getting this sort of information to necessary parties, they’re a crucial part of forming stronger corporate bonds.
As with determining the trajectory of a company, customer care agents might not be responsible for overseeing the formation of partnerships. But they can be integral in the beginning stages, when ensuring that information gets where it needs to go and answering pertinent questions.
20. Developing an Organizational Sense of Responsibility
Finally, customer care is crucial to developing an organizational sense of responsibility, both to customers and the environment. Because they interact with people closely on a daily basis, they recognize what people expect from the company in terms of ethics and behavior.
Again, this might not fall within their purview to make happen on a wide-scale. After all, leadership has a largest responsibility for implementing such practices. However, keeping members of the organization accountable and fighting for positive change are two ways support can play an active role in organizational development.
Make Sure You Invest in a Great Customer Care Team
If you’ve made it this far, you should have a fairly solid concept of how important adequate customer care is for an organization. Without it, there’s no sure way to discern whether users’ experiences with your product are successful. And even if your company finds a way, solving the issues that customers have will be next to impossible without boots on the ground. You need people who can interact directly with users, calmly walk them through difficulty, and provide efficient solutions to problems.
Of course, part of that lies in training – ensuring all of your customer care representatives are fully equipped to handle the most difficult situations. And VTR Learning can help. We offer a host of courses on different business topics, from management and cyber security to personal growth and success. So, if you’re looking for a great way to help train your team in new skills and abilities, look no further. Check out our shop today and get started.
Article written by Braden Norwood
Last updated October 18, 2023