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December 07, 2005

Comments

Mark True

David's observation that customer service departments are often is all too true in organizations that don't give any brand ownership to the employees. They don't tell them what the brand is. They don't show them how they should use the brand to make everyday decisions. And they don't empower them to make those decisions.

These are also the organizations that tend to rely only on "direct (planned)interaction/ experiences with the customer" that Tom has documented. They think they're "branding" when they introduce a new logo!

If an organization understands its brand and gives every employee ownership of that brand, it's apparent in planned efforts and unplanned efforts. It's apparent in the way they advertise, the way they answer the phone, the way they ship the product and the way they sweep the floor. It's even apparent in the way the customer service people fix problems, and if the brand is different, interesting, relevant and truthful, the mistakes will be forgiven and the customer service staff's job is even easier.

And more importantly, the brand transcends the customer. The brand says something to the organization's suppliers who may give better service to companies they like. The brand says something to reporters that are looking for stories about interesting companies. The brand says something to the general public that is not yet in the market for the company's products. The brand even says something to the competitors who are deciding if they want to invest more money to compete in this market or look for an easier one.

Brand is definately the forest, and many organizations can’t see it for the trees.

Patrick

It's all about customer experience management.

One bad experience, and you have negative WOM circulating the streets. Bad impressions from the negative WOM will hurt your foot traffic and eventually even sales if you're not careful.

Oliver Blanchard could not have put it more clearly, your customer is your king....treat them with respect...

great post...

Tim Whelan

Jennifer, I really enjoyed the comments and nice perspective. I am a real believer in Customer Experience Management and have written several articles on it. What I have found in my research findings is that although Branding depends on a customers interface it is generally defined and driven by direct (planned)interaction/ experiences with the customer. Branding is based as I understand it on these guided or planned interactions that are then pointed at a particular customer group, market segment, market; etc. We measure them, apply them with measured efficiency, and analyse them. However, there is a whole group of unplanned and indirect experiences that interface with the customer and these imparticular are outside the realm of branding, but can still be managed. The some total of all a customers experiences make up the realm of Customer Experience Management. Thanks for a different twist and insight from your side. As far as taking care of customers, you're right on. I'll check back to see what else you may comment on in another blog.

Olivier Blanchard

Super sharp post. I was just explaining this to a colleague today. (Your version is a lot clearer than mine was.)

Jack Black

Branding is the forest. Advertising, customer experience, customer service etc. are all trees.

Jack Black

Branding is the forest. Advertising, customer experience, custoemr service etc. are all trees.

David Foster

True: customer service is not the same as customer experience. But in this case, the customer service department should have been able to flag the fact that (a)they had a very unhappy customer on their hands, and (b)the "policy" reasons for this unhappiness. I wonder if such upward communication in fact occurred.

Most customer service organizations seem to function as a *buffer* between the customer and the rest of the organization, whereas they should act as an *intelligence organization.* Ironically, many companies are spending zillions on "business intelligence" systems while ignoring a primary source of intelligence which is readily available to them.

Tom Asacker

Great to see you posting more frequently Jennifer. Great stuff.

But I woiuld refine it slightly. Brand = Expectation. Which is confirmed/reinforced through experience. It matters, since you can't experience until you choose to experience. Know what I mean? ;)

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