Think beyond customer service
A new report from Trendwatching suggests that businesses that wish to differentiate themselves from the crowd need to think beyond great customer service. The trend forecasting company believes that organisations should aspire to be part of a customer’s lifestyle to become what they call a ‘servile brand’. And it seems that it's a tactic that can pay off – the report cites an American Express survey which found that 70% of American consumers are willing to spend more on brands that provide great service, and that 60% feel that brands don't concentrate enough on the service experience.
HRs influence on customer service
Consumers are changing, and the way we engage with our stakeholders should reflect this. Great products, price and positioning are no longer enough to guarantee loyalty among clients or customers.
The ‘customer is king’ concept is nothing new, but in today’s rapidly changing marketplace the idea of taking care of consumers goes further than a superior front line customer service department. HR professionals should encourage an holistic approach to managing client and customer relationships by fostering a unified attitude to delivery within their teams.
The changing consumer
According to the www.trendwatching.com report; serving, assisting and lubricating are the new selling. Today’s discerning consumers seek out servile brands that can offer them instant gratification for their needs. This is predominantly due to a shift in expectations instigated by the digital world in which we live. It's also compounded by a fall in trust in paid-for media and the fact that clients and customers are increasingly time-poor. HR departments need to educate their talent on the rising expectations of hyper-connected urban consumers to help ensure that the services they offer are relevant.
As an HR director, it's a good idea to consider the potential benefits of training or restructuring teams to increase your brand's efficiency. Historical internal structures that worked well in the past may need rethinking in this mobile age. Brand savvy professionals who have experience in creating and delivering positive corporate identity messages should be utilised to enrich customer experience. And developing talent by offering employees the opportunity to up-skill could increase long term profitability.
Decision makers should also weigh up the advantages of recruiting fresh talent to ensure that their brand is capable of keeping abreast of ever-changing consumer needs across every function. This trend towards centralising the benefit of the brand is reflected in the new breed of job descriptions which promote the ethos of continuity between internal and external branding messages. By positively influencing their people to take a direct interest in their organisations perceived identity, HR professionals can nurture the personality of their brand – something which is increasingly important in this electronic age.
Samuel Walton, founder of Walmart, once said that the goal of his company was to have customer service that was not just the best, but legendary. And in order for brand to prosper today it needs to understand the rising expectations of hyper-connected urban consumers. In business you get what you want by giving other people what they want – and dedicated brands are built by dedicated people.
It’s not about telling your customers that you are important, and they can have a slice of you if they pay for it. Instead, it’s about telling customers: “Whatever you need or want, we’re here to help”. As a business, every client you keep, is one less that you need to find. Essentially it's the responsibility of senior HR professionals to manage teams who can ensure their brand is servile at every level.