Have you ever had a good brand experience? How about a bad brand experience? Is there a difference in your mind? How many people do you tell about a positive brand experience? How about for a poor brand experience?
One poor brand experience will not destroy a firm. One poor brand experience per day, however, can ruin a company in the long run for sure. It's really easy math. If one person receives a poor experience with a brand, they might tell 10 people. At 365 days a year that's over 4000 people per year. Yikes! Not good at all.
So, how can your employees protect your brand everyday?
It all depends on delivering your internal brand and training. Not only do you have to train employees on customer service issues but also they must know how to deal with a customer that is upset or has a problem.
Let me give you an example. I purchased some artwork on a Carnival Cruise. Upon purchase from the vendor (not from Carnival Cruise itself) I requested custom frames. The vendor, Park West took my order and informed me that it would be 6-8 weeks for delivery.
10 weeks later I called Park West. They told me it shipped. I received my artwork 3 weeks late. I was so excited and I ripped the packaging away only to find they did not put on the custom frames. I waited 10 weeks for nothing.
I called Park West immediately. Guess what? I was going to have to wait another 6-8 weeks for the correct replacement. I asked for a refund and a pick up of the incorrect artwork. They denied me and said it was a final sale.
I called my credit card company. Guess what? The charge went through my Carnival Cruise account. I called them. Guess what? They would not help me, as it's a third party vendor. This is a third party vendor that Carnival Cruise has partnered with.
Did I mention that this was my 19th Carnival Cruise?
Long story short I had to pay to ship my artwork back and my credit card company took care of me.
I will never take another Carnival Cruise again.
How could Carnival save itself from losing me as a customer? It's really quite simple. Ultimately because the charge went through Carnival they needed to take responsibility. They should have said you're a valued guest and we will credit you immediately. At that point I'm thinking wow, Carnival is even better than I thought. But instead I'm writing this article and never ever going on another cruise with them.
Carnival could have saved the brand. If they had gone the extra mile to put themselves in my shoes, I would have had a positive brand experience. I would have used Carnival again, and I would have probably told everyone I know how great there service was.
Developing a proper internal brand strategy and training is the key to delivering a positive brand experience. Don't make stupid mistakes with your brand.
To measure how strong your brand is copy and paste: (http://brandidentityguru.com/bightml/brandmasterpiece.html). Then click "Take the brand strength test". This is a short survey that measures the strength of any company's brand. It's a great tool to see where you are today.
Scott White is President of Brand Identity Guru (http://www.brandidentityguru.com), a leading brand consulting and market research firm located in Easton, Massachusetts, USA, near Boston. Brand Identity Guru specializes in creating corporate and product brands that increase sales, market share, customer loyalty, and brand valuation.
Over the course of his 15-year branding career, Scott White has worked in a wide variety of industries: high-tech, manufacturing, computer hardware and software, telecommunications, banking, restaurants, fashion, healthcare, Internet, retail, and service businesses, as well as numerous non-profit organizations.
Brand Identity Guru clients include: Sun Life Financial, Coca Cola, HP, Sun, Nordstrom, American Federal Mortgage, Simon (America's largest shopping mall manager) and many others, including numerous emerging growth companies.
Scott White is a very enthusiastic speaker and has the gift of being able to explain the principles of branding in a compelling and entertaining manner so that people at all levels can understand.