Do you know why your customers choose you?
Customers nowadays select your brand and stay loyal to it not only because of the product or service offering, but also for that special feeling it gives them. The perceived brand value is exactly why some companies are better than others in differentiating from the competition.
Even if your service is the best in the world your customers are simply expecting nothing less than that. And although it may be difficult to achieve flawless service delivery, the competition can often provide a similar offering, at least in the perception of the customer.
How can you differentiate?
The way to differentiate your brand is to focus on the relational values, meaning the emotional connection customers have with your brand. This might be intangible, however, it is much more powerful than anything tangible.
But how can brand values be measured objectively? The answer is simple. They can’t! Brand values are merely beliefs in the mind of the customer, which are formed through marketing and the day-to-day interaction with the brand. Interaction is achieved through the different touch points with the customer. What will determine if the customer experience is positive or negative will be whether the interaction lives up to the customer’s expectations. For example, one company we worked with realised that the employees’ passion for their technology was contagious. Customers experienced the front line employees’ passion and this was creating a feeling of trust and reassurance for being in good hands.
And how can the desirable brand values be reinforced? You simply need to walk the talk. If everybody in an organisation is aware of the important brand values, understands them and the company culture reinforces these relational values, then this is evident to the customer, who then reciprocates to that. Which means the customer remains loyal and might also share their experience with others.
How do you know what are the relational values in your brand?
When you ask both your customers and your employees why they like working with your company there is a good chance that you will get similar answers. They may say things like “This company is really the Thought Leader in their field”, or “They really understand the business”. Such values are difficult to measure but are very powerful beliefs you can build on. Once you understand what these values are, relational values can be reinforced by design - rather than by coincidence - meaning by focusing on the touch points that your company has with the customer i.e. field engineers, support centres, training, invoicing, etc.
The customer experience elements in each of these touch points are important contributors to the customers’ perception of the key brand values and should be delivered consistently in the same way. For example, we found that during the visit of field technicians at a customer’s house for a white goods repair, customers really appreciated the explanation and advice that was given by the technician. Technicians demonstrated their excellent technical knowledge, as well as their understanding of how the customer could get more value out of the machines. This was reinforcing the company’s brand values of reliability and technical superiority and customers had a good story to tell their family and friends.
However, companies often do not realize the strength of such intangible brand values and tend to focus on the tangible and measurable elements of the offering. Academic research has shown that, although everybody usually talks about the tangible aspects of a company’s performance, as they are easier to quantify and compare, customer decisions are based on relational values. Big consumer brands like Coca Cola have realised this a long time ago and the reason they do so well is because they understand and manage the relational values of their brand. Likewise, many companies in the business to business sector would do a lot better if they would better understand and manage the relational values of their brand.
Strategy that makes the difference
Noventum research reinforced the conclusion that brand driven service strategies are proving to be most effective in creating profitable growth. Such strategies provide the customer with the experience they anticipate from the brand.
Successful companies focus on their customers’ latent needs and continuously raise the bar of expectations. They have effectively learned how to discover what their customers really want, achieved top-down commitment to that with bottom-up understanding and attention to the customer experience by customer facing teams.
To read more about how you can deal with the challenge of your customers' emotional connection to your brand, follow the link.
To learn how to develop and implement a Brand Driven Service Strategy attend our next "Service Executive Leadership Course”.
If you would you like to discuss how your company can achieve profitable growth with a Brand Driven Service Strategy contact one of our coaches