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Friday
Mar042011

Pssst… Your Brand might be at risk…

If you’ll recall from an earlier posting, a brand is the emotional response an individual experiences when a product or service name is viewed or mentioned. A brand is closely tied to the experience your customer has when dealing in person, in writing, on the web, or by phone, with your business. A very important thing…

I recently read a very good (albeit scary) post by Leonard Klie on DestinationCRM.com (CRM Magazine) about a rise in complaint calls at contact centers. Negative calls have increased by 40 percent in the past two years. Everyone who works for your company has an impact on your customers. That impact will affect how customers view your brand. With such an increase in negative calls, this is not good news.

The report, part of an annual study of more than 200 US contact centers categorized results by business type. It was interesting to note that the financial services industry did not fare as poorly as the group as a whole. I was pleased about that since Alder & Associates has helped several banks grow through brand advertising. My jubilation was rather short-lived when I read that negative calls for the financial field increased by 28 percent during the period in question…

Eighty percent of the complaints were not about how the staff handled calls but rather about a failure of process somewhere else in the organization. With the downturn in the economy and “guilty by association” aspect of the banking industry, it becomes clear that the public could very well view the financial industry askance. However and partly due to the economic downturn, companies have laid off workers who handled customers - and call centers have also reduced staff who man the phones, all resulting in some work not getting done, some errors being made, and fewer call center staff to man the phones and correct the issues. It’s not hard to imagine why complaints have risen so dramatically.

What is hard to imagine is the devastating impact this all has on a company’s brand. A great brand takes years to develop and grow. Companies have spent millions of dollars on advertising and brand research to ensure their brand is top-of-mind with the consumer. One can imagine that in a scenario where a few errors made in one department become magnified by another short-staffed department and further compounded by long telephone queues and inept or inexperienced operators. It is clear that the brand will suffer and consumers will walk.  A marketer’s nightmare…

A word of advice? Very often, an attempt to save a few pennies here or there or to reduce proper training to save a buck can undo millions of dollars of brand advertising and brand equity. Companies will want to take a longer-range view of the business, the brand, profits and the brand! (Because, it is all about the brand!)

(c) Alder & Associates - Marketing, Advertising, Public Relations

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