Welcome to Sekere’s Podcast, On this episode, the Sekere Team and their guest will be talking about how customer service affects the value of your brand. They will be sharing their opinions and insights on what customer service can do to the value of your brand.
Christiana: Welcome to Sekere News podcast. My name is Christiana and I’ll be your host for today. My guests are Emmanuel and Tolu, and today we’ll be talking about how customer service affects the value of your brand.
I’ll start by defining what customer service is, it’s basically taking care of the needs of your customer and the value of your brand is what your brand is worth it helps better position your brand in the market.
So let’s hear from Pastor about how customer service affects the value of your brand… Pastor.
Pastor: Alright. Customer service is basically like the core or should I say it is the bare bone of your business. If you ask me. Like I said, my name is Pastor Emmanuel, she called me Pastor and also called me Emmanuel, so basically that’s my name, so when you hear Pastor, you should understand that it’s not a title, it’s actually my name, alright so you’ll be hearing more of Pastor than you hear my other name, Emmanuel. Alright so, customer service, as I said, one of the bare bones of a product and the brand precisely, let me quickly give you a very short story. OK of something that happened in 2009, precisely January 2009 of this musician called Karl.
He was actually flying from Halifax to Chicago on United Airlines, so something happened, his attention was called to the fact that his guitar was being thrown while he was flying, and when he arrived Chicago he realized the guitar actually broke.
He made complaints, went to the airline customer service, spoke with them, but they were indifferent about it.
The long and short of it was that he would have cost them $3,500 to get him a new guitar, but they failed, and that cost them almost 180 million dollars lost in shares in the stock market. You see, it affected their brand so much, that you can actually go on Wikipedia or Youtube and get all of that information. The long and short of it is that if only the customer service at that point in time responded to him rightly and properly, I think the brand of United Airlines would have actually not been jeopardized for them losing 180 million dollars’ worth of shares. That’s was a huge loss compared to, you can do the ratio, 3500 dollars compared to 180 million, so that was a huge blow to the brand identity of United Airlines. And a lot of people didn’t want to fly with United Airlines anymore because it’s wasn’t really what they wanted, because the long and short of the whole story was that because, it was what led to them losing their shares was that the musician actually went on air and sang a song and that song went on YouTube 150 thousand views the first day over 5 million by April, and it was just increasing geometrically and they lost their brand, and that was what customer service did to that brand. So, it is actually a big rock, customer service is like the bare bone, not just for those who are at the call end, but everyone basically is responsible for good customer service for the brand to actually grow.
Christiana: Alright, thank you. Tolu
Tolu: Thanks for having me on the show, yeah, the emphasis of customer service to a brand cannot be overemphasized. First, let’s look at the meaning of customer service, customer service consists of the collective set of policies that governs the way you interact with your customers. This plays a very crucial room to your brand customer service.
Customer service is basically very important because it helps in reducing turn over as much as you spend a lot of money advertising to bring in customers, how you teat them and the service you render to them and the experience with who they get I contact with have in the process of you interacting with them plays a really huge role. It is not enough bringing a customer in, it’s more cost-effective keeping a customer than trying to get a new one.
So the role of customer service cannot be overemphasized. That’s it basically.
Christiana: My take on customer service, I think it everybody has said everything especially with Pastor’s story, I feel that customer service is the human element to your brand.
For instance I know cold stone, when I think of Cold Stone I think of ice cream, but based on the interactions I have with their customer service representatives is whoever is dealing with me is what I will always think about when I think about them talking to me or how they behave, so the customer service is basically the human element and the face of the voice of a brand. It is very important. If you look at it.
I’ve seen some research that says that customer service is sometimes more important than a product and it’s the same thing in my case.
I had a cake lady who I used to visit a lot, her cakes were not that great to be sincere, it was maybe an average score, but she was so Welcoming, so nice, her customer service she would go above and beyond and I felt kind of guilty with someone else because of how she took care of me as a customer and how she treated me as a customer. So I kept on going back over and over again because of that.
So my next question is, knowing how important customer services to the value of your brand. What can brands do especially small businesses do, they may not have the kind of resources bigger brands have to maintain good customer service. What do you think?
What do you think smaller brands can do to help their customer service or raise their customer service standards?
Pastor: I think the bigger brands before they became bigger brands they were actually smaller brands the truth is that a lot of these big brands while they were growing they had very good customer service. You know most people today, when you talk about Apple, Apple computers, is not because they have very good and sleek product, but their customer service is also very good. Right?
So today even the big guys, the Fortune 500 companies also want to keep that very good customer service, right? Even companies like MTN or other Telcos they want to keep that good customer service because they understand that basically is what keeps their client on board. If I call customer care of air for example on MTN and I tell them I just my 100naira or 1000naira on recharge and I receive very cold feedback, that turns me off, so I will want to start looking for some other telco that will give me a better service than they did.
Most importantly, consumers want a brand that can actually treat them very well quite okay. And at the same time, they want to receive that very snappy feedback whenever they lay a complaint. So smaller brands could actually hinge on all of these. In as much as the big brands want to do that, smaller brands can actually hinge on these and they should understand that the product is not as important as the customers.
Someone once said that when you have one customer, and that customer loves your product it could bring more customers, but when you lose one customer, that could actually have a ripple effect on your entire brand, right? For your brand to really increase or scale, and really be a name in the market, your customers can actually make that happen.
Okay, brands, it’s not the amount of billboards that you paste that makes my brand really stand out but what people say about this brand. So when your customers or clients talk well about your business, based on the interaction they must have with the customer service from your company. I think it’s increase the visibility precisely of your brand.
Christiana: So Tolu.
Tolu: Yeah, when it comes to improving your customer service on ways to improve your customer service, I will like to make six major points, which I think is going to help both small businesses, as well as big businesses.
First, be obsessed over your customers, make them top priority, and always put customers in your shoes, because you would want to be treated the way you will treat your customers. You treat your customers the way you want to be treated.
Understand your customers, and I think listening to them is also very important.
Communication is key and under communications, I will say listening. You have to listen. Listen. Listen. When they have a complain you make sure there’s quick response time, you make sure you listen to them then feedback as well is key when it comes to improving your customer service.
Christiana: So I want to ask, have you guys ever had any customer service either bad or good, that has really changed your perspective the way you look at a brand.
Has really really changed like you had a good experience, maybe you had a certain impression of the brand, then based on how you interacted with that brand either good or bad, your perspective on how you viewed the brand permanently.
Pastor: I think I have, but I won’t want to mention the brand. I have had an experience with very very poor customer service, very poor one, not just poor, in the sense that you know, your approach the front desk of a business and they give you this indifferent attitude. I think the first time I had an experience I don’t remember the name of the business, because they just shut down out of my mind, because of the response I had from their front desk agent, and there are so many of them, a lot of us must have had that kind of experience of us just losing interest in a particular brand not because their products are bad, but because we just had that cold response from customer care of a customer service or customer success from the end of the company, we just shut down completely because we had that for a no flow of rapport with the customer service system, so yes, there have been numerous experiences like that that we can all relate with.
Tolu: I have had good customer service, I wouldn’t necessarily mention their name, this happened some 3-4 three weeks ago, they do late night delivery, they operate from 9 pm – 4 am when getting food is scarce. Their customer service was on point. In fact, I was quite low when I called was it was amazing when I got off the phone, my spirit was lifted. It’s not like I told the customer service my problem, but my spirit was lifted, the way the person responded to me was amazing, delivery was in time and funny enough the next or a week after, I was having this conversation with someone, and I found myself asking indirectly marketing this business to five people and those five people ordered food that night. So yes I have had a positive experience with customer service.
Christiana: All right, thank you. So do you guys have any final words for Brands when it comes to customer service and how important is?
Emmanuel: Yes, I want to say brands should start looking at before…. I start focusing so much on the beautiful designs of my brand and logo and all of those stuff and the strategic location of my business, I should also be very much aware that, the relationship my staff have with my customers or the client is very much important because I can only stay in business when my clients are happy. So for my clients to be happy my staff or employees also need to understand that that’s the only way we can stay in business. They have to have a proper rapport with these clients, so they don’t kill the business…For businesses to really stay and for brands to get to that point where they plan from the onset of their business plan. They should understand that customer service, business relationships need to be very cordial so that if I come to your business for a product if I leave today…. I want to come back because I liked what I saw, I liked the experience, I liked the fact that there was this nice relationship had with the business and I want to come some other time. That’s the only way businesses can grow, not because I had a very good product but because I had a very good customer service.
Christiana: Okay, Tolu
Tolu: To buttress what Emmanuel has said, I think for brands, as much as they spend on advertising, they should spend times two on their customer service. I think brand’s need to invest more when it comes to their customer service because it’s more expensive losing a customer than keeping a customer and you wouldn’t want to lose a customer, so customer service, client relationship courses should be taken and whoever a brand has that’s handling the customer service. Generally, like Emmanuel said, an employer should ensure that when the employees are good, okay and happy in turn customer’s are happy, so customer service should be checkmated, should be vetted, should be invested in and the employees should be made happy, in the process it will benefit your brand at the end of the day.
Christiana: Okay, thank you. I think my final thing I want to say is that employers should try not to keep the weight or the responsibility of ensuring proper customer service is on one team or on one person. It should be everyone, the whole customer experience, so from your cleaners to your security guard give them proper training. How to address somebody, sometimes you walk into an organization and you see the security guard say something like fine girl how are you. It’s very unprofessional and reduces the value of your brand of the way your customers will view your brand. I think that’s all I have to say about customer service and brand value. Thank you, Emmanuel, Thank you Tolu, for coming in today. I thank our listeners for listening if you have any insights you will like to add concerning the topic we spoke about today. Please leave a comment below and we are very eager to hear from you. Thank you