If you’ve heard it once, you’ve heard it a thousand times: Your brand is your business. But if you have a small business—and lack the far-reaching resources of a Fortune 500 company—how can you build your brand without spending a fortune?
Think of your brand as a promise you make to clients. Customer service is the process by which you turn this promise into reality.
Here are five easy tips for building your brand through customer service:
- Focus on quality, not quantity. Don’t compromise quality to boost the bottom line. No one likes to feel cheated out of time or money, and cutting quality is the quickest way to sabotage your brand. Be honest about what you can deliver in what timeframe; overpromising will only lead to resentment and a lack of trust.
- Give customers a voice. Customers like to be heard. Whether it’s a compliment or a complaint, giving your customers a voice allows them to build equity in your business. When customers post an online review through a website like Yelp, they’re also staking their personal reputation that what they’ve said about your business is correct.
- Respond to feedback. If a customer posts a negative review of your business or emails you a complaint, a prompt response is essential. Acknowledge the problem and make it right. Whether it’s positive or negative, thank the customer for his comment. A certificate that’s good for a discount on future services or products is a great way to bring customers back for repeat business and encourage customers who had a negative experience to give your business a second chance.
- Don’t over serve. No one likes to shop for products with nosy sales staff stalking their every move. The same applies to your business clients. Give your customers room to create their own experience with your brand.
- Anticipate needs. Lack of service is just as bad as over service. Don’t just be there when clients need you; anticipate their needs and have a solution ready.
What defines customer service for you? How has customer service influenced your perception of a company’s brand?