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JANUARY 2013 issue of
Rental Management

At Your Service: Branding strategies with your phone and email
01/14/2013

“Delivering Happiness” is a book written by Tony Hsieh, the CEO of Zappos. If you are not familiar with Zappos, it is a very successful online shoe store. Recently they have expanded to related products. I thought a quote from Hsieh was interesting:

“We receive thousands and thousands of phone calls and emails every single day, and we really view each contact as an opportunity to build the Zappos brand into being about the very best customer service and customer experience. Seeing every opportunity through a branding lens instead of an expense-minimization lens means we run our call center very differently from most call centers.”

How often do you regard your phone calls and emails as part of your branding strategy? Do you see those interactions as an opportunity to enhance your brand and reputation? Your branding defines who you are, your voice.

There are simple things you can do on a phone call or in an email to support branding your company. These would include:

  • The phone greeting and how your company name is referenced.
  • The tone that is used during the phone call is critical. Zappos has about 5 percent of their sales done through the phone. However, they found that on average, every customer contacts them at least once during his or her lifetime and they wanted to make sure they use that opportunity to create a lasting memory. In a rental environment, you have many more opportunities to make that great impression.
  • Review your auto signature on your emails. This signature should comply with your branding standards. Consistency is key here. You want to eliminate the personal auto signature messages that do not communicate the image of your company.
  • The tone of the email also is important. Make certain everyone is trained on proper etiquette for an email so that the email represents you in the proper manner.

Hsieh, in his book, also emphasizes the value of the phone interaction:

“As unsexy and low-tech as it may sound, our belief is that the telephone is one of the best branding devices out there. You have the customer’s undivided attention for five to 10 minutes and if you get the interaction right, what we’ve found is that the customer remembers the experience for a very long time and tells his or her friends about it. We view the lifelong value of a customer to be a moving target that can increase if we can create more and more positive emotional associations with our brand through every interaction that a person has with us.”

Branding is typically an initiative of your marketing department. However, the branding strategy should encompass your entire organization. Often that branding strategy does not stretch to phone and email, where most of your customers are interacting with your company. It is important to set standards and guidelines for this important communication tool.

Barry Himmel is senior vice president for Signature Worldwide, a Dublin, Ohio-based consulting company offering sales and customer service training, marketing and mystery shopping services for the equipment rental industry. He can be reached at 614-766-5101 or barryhimmel@signatureworldwide.com. For more information, call 800-398-0518 or visit signatureworldwide.com.

 

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