What does it take for a brand to get it?
I’ve written before about how brands shoot themselves in the foot by neglecting customer service. The fact is that many companies are all too willing to step on the little guy. I’m learning, however, that we have weapons at our disposal.
I’ve written before about how Apple’s customer service reps and even mid-level managers ignored my iTunes problem. Fed up, I decided to take it to the top. I emailed Apple CEO Steve Jobs and shared with him my blog rant about the company. Now, I don’t flatter myself that Jobs personally read my post. But someone in the company did, and in a seeming nano second, that person was in touch with me and solved my problem. Nice.
American Online is my backup Internet provider; if all else fails I will use its dial up service. Yesterday, there was an outage in my area and I called AOL to increase my service level just for the day. I was told that my $6.95 service plan that I’ve had for several years no longer exists (a philosopher could have fun with the fact that I have what no longer exists) and I would have to be permanently upgraded to a $9.95 plan. Out came my customer service weapons. I told them nicely that I would be blogging about them and would write a letter to the chairman. Next thing I know my rep is checking with someone else and tells me I can have my $6.95 plan back, and because I’m such a good, loyal customer I’m getting a $15 credit. Nice.
At least these companies finally got it. But it’s a shame that it takes almost a personal act of war for them to respond the way they should have the first time around.
I know if I behaved the way they did with my customers I’d be out of business. Of course I don’t exactly have the same volume of customers they do.
What can we as personal branders learn from behemoth brands and customer service?
• Be flexible. If a customer or coworker has a problem, don’t be afraid to go the extra mile to help.
• Make service part of your brand. Be known as someone who gets it right or fixes it if it isn’t. Delivering quality service is becoming a rarity. Use it to brand yourself.