If you follow me on social media, you will know that I have recently had a bad customer service experience. It got me thinking about how brands can easily get it wrong if the back-office function is not connected to the brand message.
Public relations is about managing and protecting your reputation as a business, and how you handle customers is a huge part of that. It can make or break a customer’s experience of your business or brand.
More and more brands are turning to a digital customer experience, and that’s great, and some are nailing it. But it’s not all plain sailing right? When we buy into a ‘brand promise’, we don’t expect it to break as soon as you start interacting with the back-office functions.
So today I will cover a few things to think about how digital customer service can affect your hard-earned reputation if not managed as part of your public relations plan.
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Full transcript (unedited)
If you follow me on social media you will know that I have recently had a bad customer service experience and it got me thinking about how brands can easily get it wrong if the back office functions are not connected to the brand message.
What do I mean by that, well public relations is about managing and protecting your reputation as a business, and how you handle customers is a huge part of that. It can make or break a customer’s experience of your business or brand.
More and more brands are turning to a digital customer experience and that’s great, and some are nailing it. But it’s not all plain sailing right? when you buy a band promise and get that broken as soon as you start interacting with the back office functions.
So today I am going to cover a few things to think about with digital customer service can effect your hard earned reputation..
It sounds a bit doom and gloom especially with the year we have all had. Potential issues can be hidden in your business big or small. And some of them can start with a product failure. But damage can happens quickly with digital media strategies and with comments on social media feeds are easy for anyone to interact with, it can snowball quite quickly…
Being prepared and having a strategic approach for what you might do if things go wrong in your business will help with feeling overwhelm at the thought of ‘what if’ or if things do go wrong quite quickly. The good news is, it doesn’t have to be a huge investment. Just having a few simple steps can help you.
This has to include making sure that everyone from front end sales to back office functions are joined up. Easier said that done, right.
For example, you would never tell the media before you have told key people in your business about a problem with a product or a customer service issue. But now you have no choice, everything is out in the open and the first place we turn is special media when things go wrong.
Customers (we) are much more informed now about how products should work and have high expectations. According to HubSpot there are 4 basic expectations customer need To feel heard, appreciated, and valued.
- For the process to feel easy and without friction.
- To see action being taken regarding the request or issue.
- For an action to be relatively quick.
- For all communication to happen on a channel that is convenient for them.
By not meeting these we are moving into a digital PR nightmare and the keyboard warriors will be on the loose on Twitter in particular.
Here is a few things to think about.
Do you need to dedicate resources?
Think about whether you will need to dedicate a person or a phone line to an issue if it’s of major consumer interest. Do you expect to get a lot of calls if something goes wrong? If so, you will need to put extra resources in place to deal with that. You need to think that through in advance because you don’t want to be trying to work it out in the heat of the moment.
What will you say? And who will say it?
If there is an issue that fundamentally exposes the quality or your product, then the customer service needs to be really clear on replacement of goods and services policy. This means having agreement with everyone involved how you will resolve and issue and having the same front-end finesse to your responses as you have in your marketing or advertising.
I had two experiences recently with big brands where my tech failed on a product and I can tell you that IMO Adidas does this really well, Apple does not. This is why.
Adidas’s response was this should not happen, this does not align with who we are and what our products are supposed to do and how they should function. And offered a full refund.
Apple couldn’t fix the issue and my only option was to purchase a new product. Now I am missing a bit of context there but you can see how Apple’s interaction with me was frankly a PR disaster and adidas has me raving about how good their customer service is.
This is especially important in B2B when sales are undertaken by people or a sales team and everyone has to be on point and on message so that there are no customer service issues if something is miss sold or there is an y recall of any kind.
Having a brand review across your business and every touch points with customers can ensure that you are living up to what you say you do and how you do it. This could be as easy as checking your automated responses and email replies through to your customer service online chat or tech desk help.
I hope you enjoyed today’s episode. How will you look into whether your hard-earned PR effort is crashing down due to poor customer service or automation? Let me know on my social media channels.