Kandra Churchwell, Author of the Bravvy Build a Savvy Brand Series for Business Owners. Kandra is an award winning designer and brand consultant in Denver, CO. She has been working with emerging and established businesses to shape their brands since 1996.
Branding Customer Service
Written by Kandra Churchwell, Author of the Bravvy Build a Savvy Brand Series for Business Owners.
Did you know that your Brand has an impact on customer service procedures for your company? How you answer the phone, handle voicemail, reply to emails, and even text, will impact how your audience perceives your brand. And, companies with a well crafted brand can leverage their brand to determine how to handle each of these areas.
Standard Communication Etiquette for all Brands
Let’s take a quick look at the different area’s of communication etiquette that businesses engage in outside of a face-to-face situation:
Phone Etiquette addresses protocols for what some may consider to be small items, but can have a huge impact on how your customers perceive they are being treated. Have you considered the following items for your phone etiquette?
- How many rings before you answer the phone?
- Do you pace your words (not talking too fast and not talking too slowly)?
- Do you ever chew gum or drink while on the phone?
Phone etiquette guidelines also include determining the format for the greeting, how to (or if you even should) use the speakerphone, guidelines for headsets, and taking (and then delivering) messages.
Voice Mail Etiquette involves how to create a customer service focused greeting, how to return a call, and how to leave a message on behalf of your company (yes, even how you leave a voicemail impacts how other perceive your brand and quality of customer service!).
eMail Etiquette is one area where I have many personal pet peeves. When you handle 50-100 emails on any given day, you quickly realize that many people do not know how to effectively use email! Having customer service focused email guidelines will greatly increase the perceived quality of your company and brand. Everything from how quickly email replies are sent, to how detailed and to the point the replies are, and niceties such as using a greeting and a closing are covered in The VOICE Customer Service Training.
Texting Etiquette is, for better or worse, becoming a common platform for conducting business activities. Texting for business is not the same as texting your kids, friends, or other family members. Unspoken rules can easily be broken, abbreviations can be misinterpreted, and the dreaded auto-correcting features of phones can make for very unfortunate texts that can ruin your valued customer service reputation. Specific etiquette guidelines for texting on behalf of your company should be shaped around your brand - including whether or not to even allow it outside of short communications to confirm meeting times and locations.
Phone, Voice Mail, eMail and Texting Etiquette for Your Brand
I always educate my clients on the fact that their brand is more than just their logo. A brand is reflected in all communications your business engages in — and how you answer the phone is probably the most common example I use.
In one of the exercises in my branding series, Build a Savvy Brand, business owners define their Brand Voice and Tone.
- Brand Voice is “what” the brand would say.
- Brand Tone is “how” the brand would say it.
Depending on the brand’s personality (which is also crafted in the Build a Savvy Brand workbook) the brand voice could be very matter of fact, or more adjective focused, and the brand tone could be whimsical, snarky, or professional, chipper, or even hipster-casual.
The brand voice and tone worksheet guides you through a few exercises including how the brand would answer the phone, phrase a tweet, and craft a marketing headline.
Let’s take a look at how a brand's tone and voice could alter phone greetings, voicemail message, and email sign offs. The following infographic walks you through a few possible combinations of different brand tones so you can craft effective greetings for your brand.
Even with protocols in place for your business communications, it’s important to ensure that each and every employee is aware of them, and that they are reviewed each year. These common communication platforms are just one portion of the training provided with The VOICE Custom Service Training program. It’s available as a stand alone workbook, or can be presented to your employees by a live customer service expert.
Employees should also be educated on the specifics of your brand in order to effectively leverage it in all of their communications. The process Kandra uses to help her clients build effective and savvy brands is available in a self paced workbook Build a Savvy Brand. It’s an invaluable tool for brands just starting out, as well as those looking to audit or refresh their existing brand.