January 16th, 2015
I am amused at all the declarations of devotion, of late, to customer service and customer experience — the management jargon du jour on Twitter.
Like discovering that water flows downhill, CEOs are just now realizing that taking care of customers is good for business. Why? Maybe they’re sick of supply-chain management and continuous improvement. So yesterday.
Real reason: most companies are product-centric. Accordingly, customer service, to them, is an extracurricular, detached entity — and it shows (see the Customer Experience Board that helps companies deal with the problems). Ignoring the customer is expensive. I’m sorry, but this is common sense — and obvious to branding-oriented CEOs.
In Be Unique or Be Ignored: The CEO’s Guide to Branding, you’ll learn that a brand is a value proposition — not a product name, not a logo. Never forget this.
Blame Venture-Capital Firms
In a brand-centric company, customer service is inherent in the product (or service) offering. A brand-centric company pushes its brand, not its products and tools. Customers buy value, not products and tools, and expect to benefit from a resultant positive experience.
Yet, in the technology precincts (Silicon Valley, Silicon Alley, Silicon Prairie, Silicon Hills, et al), product-centric companies are the rage — and venture-capital firms, which organize around technologies and fund startup companies, are to blame.
Newsflash: Nobody wants to deal with a customer-service department. Don’t create one.
Parting Advice to CEOs
The choice confronting you never should be customer experience or brand. By becoming a brand-centric company, you’re inherently making customer service invisible and invaluable — thereby enriching the customer experience.
If, however, your company originates as, or remains, product-centric, it will have no brand, its customer service will be visible, detached, and poor — and the customer experience will necessarily suffer. Can you afford that?
About the Author
Marc Rudov is a branding advisor to CEOs,
producer of MarcRudovTV, and author of the book,
Be Unique or Be Ignored: The CEO’s Guide to Branding.
© 2015 Marc H. Rudov. All Rights Reserved.