Support agents or brand ambassadors?

Support agents or brand ambassadors?

March 19, 2015
Support agents or brand ambassadors?

First impressions don’t always tell us everything we need to know, but they are important—especially since we only get one shot.

When it comes to business, your company’s branding is often a major component of that first impression. And your brand is more than just colors, fonts, and logos. Your brand helps to align what you want customers to think of your business with what your customers actually do think of your business.

While businesses spend a lot of energy on the look and feel of their websites, they often overlook the most obvious way customers interact with the company: through support agents.

Your support team can reflect your company’s brand by providing a great customer service experience. Here are three ways to better incorporate your brand personality into your support.

1. Live the brand
Putting words on paper to describe what your company’s all about isn’t enough. Really knowing your brand means digging deeper, and unifying how all your employees think about your brand. Core company messaging needs to be incorporated into the day-to-day culture. This might mean reminding employees of brand attributes or values at company-wide meetings, or actively working across departments to ensure that everything from emails to events to support is aligned with the brand.

Developing a successful customer service culture does not happen overnight. It’s an ongoing process that starts with asking, “Why does what I do matter to the overall success of the company?”

Good customer service comes in different shapes and sizes–and every company’s approach is different–so it’s important to show your employees examples of how you want them to engage with customers. And part of this has to do with hiring the right kind of people.

2. Be consistent
Today customers are free to interact with a company through multiple channels. This invariably makes customer support more challenging, and the harder your customers work to get help, the larger the impact on your brand.

Whether handling an email or a tweet, your customer support team should be aware of how they come across to the customer, and what level of efficiency might be expected across all channels.

Being consistent also means helping your customers move seamlessly from one support channel to another without the customer feeling like they’re being shuffled through a disorganized and complicated system. This omnichannel customer journey is now more common than ever and needs to be executed effectively so that customers don’t have to restart the conversation every time communication is moved to a new channel.

3. Take a cue from BuzzFeed
Thinking about your support team as brand ambassadors might mean that you make some support decisions based on the value your team can bring to the overall company rather than just optimizing for efficiency.

For example, the team at BuzzFeed takes the time to respond to every single ticket they receive through its editorial feedback, even those that say things like “good job on the article” that don’t really require a response from customer support agents.

While this practice might not be considered as operationally efficient for some, it’s BuzzFeed’s way of saying how much they encourage and value their readers’ input.

As BuzzFeed’s senior support specialist, Rachel Brandt, explains it, not responding simply doesn’t feel like BuzzFeed’s culture. Thus, the support agents make an effort to be accessible and remain interactive.

How does your customer service impact your brand? Let us know by clicking the icon at the end of any paragraph to comment.