Increasingly, thecorporate call center has become the “face” of American brands. Research tells us that more consumers than ever develop attitudes about brands based on an initial engagement with a customer service agent. Companies make a “brand promise” to their customers. And the service agent is expected to deliver on that promise, regardless of the circumstances.
Given this dynamic, there is tremendous pressure on brand executives to ensure that their outsourced call center team understands the brand intimately. Obviously, service agents need to have a thorough understanding of the product or service. But it is also important for them to know what the brand is all about in order to deliver the customer a richer experience.
What is the brand identity? It’s the “name, term, design, symbol or any other feature that identifies one seller’s goods or services as distinct from those of other sellers.” A brand identity is about much more than price and product features. It is a valuable fixed asset that also creates an emotional connection between the company and the customer. Search Engine Journal hassuggested three advantages of a strong brand identity:
Reveals your product’s unique place in the market
Contributes to a consistent customer experience
Maximizes your ability to increase awareness and loyalty with your consumer base
DEVELOPING A BRAND IDENTITY
It takes time to develop a strong brand identity. Following are five steps to creating a brand identity as outlined by Hubspot:
Vision: The vision states what the company wants to be known for in the future. It should be both inspirational and aspirational. The organization and all outsources partners must understand and be fully invested in the vision. Here are elements to consider when considering the vision statement:
What are your most important products and services?
What is unique about doing business with your company?
How would your best customers describe your products/services?
Mission: Whereas the vision statement tends to be emotional, the mission statement is rational. It states the purpose of the brand. It is simple and straightforward, covering any of the following:
What are the specific market needs the brand addresses?
What does the brand do to address these needs?
What are the guiding principles that define the brand?
Essence: The brand essence that unique, intangible emotion you want your customers to feel when they experience your product. For example: Volvo is safe and Disney is magical.
Personality: The application of human characteristics to define a brand; the brand’s personification. For example: Apple is young and hip, while IBM is old and stodgy.
Value proposition: Articulates your products or services unique value and how it benefits customers. What are the benefits that set your brand apart from its competitors?
BRINGING THE BRAND TO THE CALL CENTER
As stated at the outset, it is imperative that everyone on your call center team is fully versed in the brand identity. Remember, the agents are an extension of your brand and, often, the first line of contact with your consumers.
What can enterprises do to ensure their call center agents “get” the brand? We suggest the following steps:
Involve senior management: the call center is too important to your long-term success. As such, senior managers should be involved in “selling the vision” to those on the front line. Take the time to brief and inspire your call center team.
Immerse everyone in the product/service and culture: every agent working on the front line must be familiar with your products and services, as well as competitive products and services. Moreover, there should be on-going updates on improvements and new additions to the offering.
Encourage autonomy: executives should encourage call center managers to empower agents to deliver a great customer experience every time out. Agents need to know that they have the autonomy to make decisions on behalf of the brand.
Celebrate brand victories: the greatest incentive for any employee, especially those on the front line, is to be acknowledged for a job well done. To that end, center managers should celebrate any agent effort that reinforces the brand identity.
Is your corporate call center fully prepared to represent your brand?
RDI Corporation was founded in 1978 and is headquartered in Blue Ash, Ohio. We provide precise business solutions through a fully integrated outsourcing model and our clients ranged from mid-sized corporations to distinguished Fortune 500 companies.