Branded Customer Service breaks new ground with an assertion that brand equity is built not just through advertising and public relations, but also through the human exchange of customer service. Customer relations experts Janelle Barlow and Paul Stewart have a passion for branding and explain in practical terms how to take a defined, recognizable brand pos...
Branded Customer Service breaks new ground with an assertion that brand equity is built not just through advertising and public relations, but also through the human exchange of customer service. Customer relations experts Janelle Barlow and Paul Stewart have a passion for branding and explain in practical terms how to take a defined, recognizable brand position and then make it live through delivery of service. Challenges to consistency are discussed, as well as the internal promotion of brands, the reinforcement of brands through staff and customer interactions, and how to link brands to selling styles and messages.
"According to this turgid primer, service with a smile is no longer enough. With today's glut of interchangeable commodities and cynical consumers, every aspect of customer service must reinforce the brand image promulgated by the marketing department. Thus, employees of Fabulous Freddie's gas stations try to work the word 'fabulous' into every conversation with customers, while Abercrombie and Fitch hires college-age salespeople who look like their catalogue models. CNBC commentator Barlow, author of A Complaint Is a Gift, and consulting colleague Stewart, regale readers with anecdotes about snippy, sullen, ignorant sales associates who undermine brand loyalty and, worse, waiters and customer service reps whose carefully scripted cheerfulness and solicitude leave customers with a sour aftertaste of inauthenticity. Their ideal, derived from complexity theory conceits about the self-organizing behavior of flocking birds, is to get the typical high-turnover, minimum-wage service worker so imbued with the brand's essence that it emerges in spontaneous, emotionally real encounters in which 'service representatives and customers dance together in brand space.' Their suggestions include lots of human resources exercises in which employees ponder and internalize the brand messages expressed in advertising, as well as acting lessons, penmanship instruction, 'personal image and professional presence training,' humor classes, seminars in reading body language, and exhortations to 'live the brand' at work and at home. A case study of a makeover of a Bahamas resort, in which employees were instructed to translate the hotel's marketing themes into the local island patois and create their own posters, dances and songs about them, gives readers a good sense of the book's softly totalitarian approach to customer service." Publishers Weekly
Book News Annotation:
Barlow is president of a U.S.-based partner, and Stewart director of a New Zealand-based partner, of a multinational consulting organization. They offer a range of ideas, research, strategies, and techniques to facilitate the understanding and delivery of an organization's brand through service. Coverage includes the evolution and power of brands, the relationship between branding concepts and branded customer service, supporting and promoting branded customer service, and methodologies and practical ideas for delivering service that is aligned with a company's brand. For executives, marketers, HR and customer service trainers, supervisors, and customer service personnel.
The author of the bestselling "A Complaint Is a Gift" explores building band equity through enhanced and focused customer service.