One of the last remaining weapons a brand has left to fight competitors with, is service. When there’s no real difference but the logo and the company behind it, it all comes down to how you reward or punish people for choosing you. See, I said people. Not customers, or consumers, or users, or clients. People.
People are real. They have feelings. They work hard for their money and they decide carefully how to spend it on most things. When something goes wrong with the service they paid for or the product they bought, they need help. You owe it to them.
Help does not mean waiting for half an hour in an automated call queue listening to canned muzak and being told every 30 seconds that the next available person will attend to one. Help does not mean getting through to someone in Bangalore reading from a script with no experience of the product or service and no way to solve one’s problem beyond grinding through a script. That is not Help. That is not service. That is torture.
Help is someone coming to one’s assistance who knows what one needs and can deliver on it immediately, or pretty soon thereafter. And get this, Help is part of your Brand.
If you choose the alternate path, Torture becomes part of your brand.
The reality of managing a brand in the Social Media era is that your efforts to Help or Torture will not go unremarked upon and it is becoming easier to spread those remarks all the time.
They will appear across the Twitterverse, on YouTube, in Facebook, as Foursquare comments and in blogs and forums available everywhere. And there is nothing you can do to stop it.
So be nice. Or Fail.
If you don’t believe me, watch this:
And in case WordPress didn’t serve that to you well, search United Breaks Guitars on YouTube and follow the series.