Category Archives: Brands
Photo credit: Social Mouths
I haven’t posted in a while mainly because of another blog project I’m putting all my focus on http://www.5y2m.com (#clickbait) . Fortunately, I had a recent experience that gave me an opportunity to rant about (I wanted to wait until I was no longer annoyed to write this).
SO…I’ve been looking for a platform that can offer me certain functions I need for my other blog, namely list building and email marketing capabilities. After weeks of research I came down to two choices, and still needed to make a final decision (which was hard in itself). Platform A had everything I needed, the montly cost was attractive to me, and it pretty much integrated with everything I needed in one. The only drawback was that it didn’t have one key functionality that’s a must for me, based on what I need to do.
Platform B has that one key functionality I need. However, in comparison to Platform A, Platform B has a few disadvantages in that I would need 2 separate platforms to perform the same functions Platform A could do altogether with one. Additionally, Platform B is 4x as costly as Platform A. Platform B was at a significant disadvantage.
I wanted to give you the context of this rant before getting to the point
How Support Is Killing Your Business
When it comes to your marketing and branding efforts, the first voice over the telephone, or the first face your potential and existing customers see when they enter your business is the life or death of your business. It is the difference between someone deciding to be your customer for life, or them telling everyone how incredibly horrible your service is, and as the saying goes bad news travels faster.
Photo credit: The Vinyl Anachronist
It’s not enough just to have any old person as the voice or face of your support team who is just looking to collect a paycheck and go home. It has to be someone who 1). Actually enjoys their job, and 2). Actually likes people. Without these two you’re in trouble.
Many businesses never consider their support as a part of their overall branding. Many seem to believe branding starts and stops with Marketing, but fail to realize that Marketing is responsible for communicating the Brand Message and Value. However, your entire company is your branding, from Sales, Marketing, Customer Service, even Tech Support is the face of your brand.
If they interact with your customers, they ARE your brand.
That key functionality I mentioned, I needed to know for sure if either platform was capable of doing it. So I got on their websites to chat with customer support. Take into consideration before these two conversations I was already ready to go with Platform A, I just didn’t want to leap in without weighing my options first.
So speaking with customer support from Platform A first. Firstly, when asking her certain questions I could immediately tell from her tone that I was bothering her (I suppose she had more important things to do). She answered my questions but it was very half-assed, and it was clear she didn’t care to make much of an effort in answering them. There was even a moment when I asked a question and she said she would find out and get back to me, and at the end of the conversation I had to remind her that she hadn’t answered my question. At the end of that conversation I was annoyed to say the least.
I then got in contact with Platform B customer support right after. However, rather than a live chat the conversation took place over email. Firstly, when the customer support from Platform B responded her energetic personality was infectious, she immediately changed my tone from annoyed to pleasant. She was very personable, and saying she was ‘helpful’ would be an understatement. She not only answered my question by letting me know that the platform had the functionality I was looking for, but she literally sent me a 1,000 word essay in the form of email explaining exactly how I could execute what I wanted with their platform, and two different options to do so. At the end she reassured me that if I had any other questions or challenges she would be more than happy to answer them so I can email her directly. Throughout the enter email correspondent it didn’t feel like I was talking to a support rep, it felt like I was talking with a good friend of mine that just happen to work for Platform B.
In the end that one experience one hour later immediately made me change my mind and decided to go with Platform B, even though it will cost me 4 times the cost, and I will have to setup two different accounts with two different platforms to execute what I want to do. Platform A loss pretty much a sure customer because of one bad rep.
All because of amazing customer service Platform B now has me as a customer (or at least because the other customer service sucked).
So in closing as business owners take this as a lesson. When it comes to the first point of contact for your brand and business don’t hire the most qualified person for the job, hire the most passionate and RIGHT person for the job. Just because they can do the job well doesn’t mean they are best suited for the job.
Your Brand depends on it!
Have you had an experience with customer support that caused you to switch brands? Let me know your story in the comments below
The heading is pretty self-explanatory what this rant is about…customer service right? In a sense yes but it goes much deeper than simply that; it could mean the destruction of your brand and business as you know it.
Recently (like literally yesterday) I had a run in with a sales rep. In a sense she is the first point of contact for a popular online CRM company (no I will not say which). “First point” meaning once I showed any level of interest in their product or service she would be the first person that contacts me at the beginning of my buying decision. She had requested a bit of information by email, which I gave her, to get a better understand of what I wanted out of the product. Okay fine, good job, find out the customer needs and such, good first approach. After which a follow up call was made to me to further discuss what is it I was looking for, for my business…okay. We started the conversation and I was content with it, until she began asking questions. I began answering the first, mid-way through I was interrupted, okay fine. The second third fourth and fifth I began realizing a common trend of interruptions with trying to finish answering each question. It was as if I was being rushed into answering each question under 5 seconds, as if the conversation was being timed by someone with a stop watch beside her. I began questioning if she was truly interested in what I wanted or was she just following a sales script trying to get through it as quickly as possible to move on to the next potential customer, which in the eyes of the current potential customer is not a good look. No customer wants to feel rushed when making a purchasing decision, whether to buy or to have questions asked answered. Which brings me to my point.
This is a clear example why businesses should carefully consider who they decide to put at the forefront to represent their business. As the person responsible for making the first impression it has to last, and not in a negative way. Something as seemingly harmless as a telephone conversation could severely damage or destroy one’s brand, whether the person realizes it or not. In this scenario the impression that was left in my mind was “For a company that is selling a sales CRM their staff really doesn’t know much about the practice.” Before then I was completely sold on the product. Now because of one negative interaction with the brand, I am strongly reconsidering my options.
This is a lesson that must be clear to all businesses. Whether you know it or not your business (product, service and people who make up your business) is your brand i.e. your reputation. If one person messes up, the entire business messes up, even more detrimental if it is the first point of contact.
My suggestion is carefully select who you employ. Skill and qualification is not enough today. Personality and tone of interaction with customers is far more important, since this will be the determining factor if a potential customer buys or not.
If you were the first point of contact how differently would you have handled the situation? Leave a comment and let me know.
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