The customer service week is being observed globally this week but salient issues which should be object of focus are not accorded priority. I was reading the newspaper and a particular bank publicised how the week would be celebrated through branded gifts and others. I just wondered how all these translate to qualitative service delivery. Customers are the bedrock of any organisation and without them; brands cannot thrive in the market place. Customers are expected to be given utmost priority and when this is not done, there will be serious challenges for such organisations.
The key issue to focus on by companies and their brands is that customer service is beyond the mundane task of distributing cakes and dishing out branded souvenirs to customers. Customer service should not be an annual ritual during the customer service week but it should be a daily norm strictly adhered to by everyone.
It is surprising that rather than give out gifts to customers, brands should devise innovative ways to feel the pulse of customers. How many times have customer fora been held to connect directly with customers? How many times have the brands gauged the perception of customers? These are critical issues to focus on and until these are done well, organisations will merely be chasing the shadows. The first step is actually to know who the customer is. When the customer is known, a relationship is built and through this, the customer becomes loyal to the brand. It is shocking that companies and brands do not know their customers and how do you make someone you know loyal to your brand?
A customer will definitely be loyal to any brand that treats him/her with dignity and respect. When customers experience excellent service, they are prepared to pay more. However, when there is poor customer service, it is possible for a customer to shift brand loyalty when getting better customer service from competing brands. Some customers do not even go further in a transaction when bad disposition is noticed. The best way to strengthen customer devotion to your brand is to treat them in a distinct way.
Customer service can be a definite Unique Selling proposition (USP) in the branding strategy. Customer centric services go a long way in deepening customer experience and building loyalty for the brand. When customer service is embedded in the branding strategy, it breathes out and translates to concrete results. Customer service should also be part of the corporate strategy .There should be Customer Value Proposition for any service. This focuses on every individual customer as crucial to the continued existence of an organization.
THE ONE CUSTOMER CONCEPT
I was at Sterling Bank, Aromire branch in Ikeja for a third party transaction and I was quite impressed with the service I experienced. The staff did not know who I was but I observed the positive attitudinal disposition they exhibited. I was referred to one Mrs Oyewo to confirm the cheque and she pleasantly attended to me. I also observed the way she attended courteously to the customer ahead of me.
She is a good ambassador of the brand and an embodiment of customer service. I was happy she did not change my perception of the one customer concept of Sterling Bank. My interaction with her remains indelible and even though I am not a Sterling Bank customer, the touch points I had and the others ones I have also had over the years are compelling enough for me to be one. The one customer concept of Sterling Bank focuses on the individual customer as highly important and unique to the Sterling brand.This should be the focus of every brand and not just lip service alone.