When most people think of branding, they think of visual aspects, like logos. But branding is much more than that!
Branding involves any point of contact between your business and the consumer, which means branding determines what experience your customer is going to have with your brand. It has the potential to either enhance your customer experience, by using meaningful interactions, or impair it – if the interaction was not helpful at all.
Let’s look at some statistics that illustrate why branding is important, and get into the details over how to brand specifically for a better customer experience.
Why Should You Brand?
Small businesses are on the rise. There are now around thirty million small businesses with company profiles on the social media giant, Facebook.
Considering the exponential increase in the number of competitors, consumer experience has become one of the key differentiators determining the success of a small business.
For instance, this 2013 study by Walker Insight predicted that by the year 2020 (less than a year from now) the experience a customer has will be more important than both the product and the price.
That goes along with other trends indicated by statistics: Forty-four percent of customers will go elsewhere with their business due to a poor customer service experience. More than one trillion dollars in revenue is lost in the United States due to customers switching brands because of poor service, according to Accenture stats.
So branding in a way that escalates and enhances customer experience is one of the most effective ways to not only keep your existing customers, but to gain new ones.
How can it be done? Let’s take a look at some specifics.
Create a User-Friendly Website
Your company website is likely to be the main way for your potential customers to find out the pertinent information about you. It will also play a big part in whether they decide to work with you or not.
Using a user friendly interface, therefore, is pretty important.
If your website is overly complicated, if the important information is either not present or simply buried by too much content, or if the site is difficult to navigate, it’s very likely that your viewers will simply back out.
Create a website that promotes your brand as focused on the needs of your customers – friendly, engaging, and easy to use.
Use Social Media
One of the biggest turn-offs for a customer is the inability to communicate with a brand.
You may have a “contact us” form on your website, but why stop there? Social media business accounts make it easy to offer your customers a variety of ways to reach you.
Set up accounts with Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc. — not only will your customers feel that you are available to them, you will also have more chances to engage, start conversations, and build your brand.
Respond Quickly to Messages
Once you’ve set up the avenues by which you can be reached in order to facilitate customer service, make sure to follow through. Whether the message you’re getting is positive or negative, make it a priority to respond.
If it’s a problem, address the problem.
If it’s a simple commentary or a thank you, make sure to acknowledge the overture and thank them for engaging.
The faster the response, the better.
And remember this statistic: seventy percent of customers who had a complaint about a company were willing to give the company another chance after their complaints were addressed satisfactorily.
Even a negative comment or a complaint is still an opportunity to build your brand.
Use a Follow-Up Protocol
Engaging with the customer initially is one thing, but following up is what often seals the deal and creates loyalty to your brand.
After each conversation, make sure to reach out to ensure that the customer’s needs have been met, and that any further problems are addressed.
Promote Your Personality
Small businesses often have the luxury of creating a brand personality that can be quirky and unique. Customers are drawn to personable brands, brands that are clearly representative of people rather than a corporate facsimile.
Within every aspect of your brand — from logo to website to content to social media to marketing — build that personality little by little. Branding by tone and character attracts consumers to your small business, and cements the relationship between brand and customer.
With each of these aspects of branding for small business, keep in mind the ultimate goal: to create a better customer experience. Since a brand is all about the interaction between business and consumer, adapting and honing your CX cannot help but grow your brand.