A large part of your branding is how you communicate with your customers. For example, what “voice” does your business have? Is your tone friendly and casual, or reserved and verbose? How will you communicate with your customers—directly and personally via social media, or will you have a dedicated email contact?
Such factors have a direct bearing on how your business is perceived. It’s worth ensuring that your approach to customer service is as suited to your business as possible—as these brands have done.
Connecting with customers
The very purpose of customer service is to provide the best service possible—and to do that effectively, it’s important to connect with your customers. This was demonstrated wonderfully in how the Ritz-Carlton on Amelia Island, Florida, dealt with a forgotten soft toy named Joshie in 2012. Chris Hurn comforted his distraught son by pretending that Joshie was simply taking an extended holiday and would be home soon. The Ritz-Carlton played along and went above and beyond, sending Joshie home accompanied by a binder full of photos of the stuffed giraffe enjoying a massage, driving a golf cart, and more.
Creating a conversation, adapting to feedback
Bad feedback needn’t be wholly negative—handling customer feedback and complaints with good grace and humour offers a valuable opportunity to mould your public image. Take the now-famous example of Sainsbury’s Tiger Bread. A confused 3.5-year-old Lily Robinson wrote in to query why it wasn’t called Giraffe Bread instead, given its mottled, patchy appearance. Sainsbury’s responded with a charming letter, gift card, and even went on to rename the product based on Lily’s feedback.
Using personality and humour appropriately
Social media offers a perfect platform for injecting a little personality and comedy into your conversations. Good examples of this include JetBlue, Smart Car, Sainsbury’s, phone brand O2, and even NASA’s Mars Curiosity rover, which ostensibly writes its own witty tweets. All use humour to both gain more media coverage, and maintain a good reputation for making their customers happy. However, if the humour is inappropriate for your audience it may backfire, so tread carefully!