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Dear Brands: The Little Things Count
By: Janet Kalandranis
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Brands that think customer service and day-to-day operations are separate from brand strategy need to re-evaluate their thought processes. Because today, as it should be, everything in a brand is connected and affects the success of the business. Especially those things that touch customers directly, like employees and customer service. Sure, this topic has been discussed all week on BTB, but there’s reason for it. IT. IS. IMPORTANT. And in order for branding professionals to see the benefit of “the little things,” the topic must be discussed time and time again. Perhaps years ago customers weren’t as connected to brands. Sure, they had favorites, ones they preferred, but people weren’t digging in to who a brand is or what they wanted from a brand relationship. Today this landscape is much different. Customers want to be engaged and expect the best; if they don’t get it, they move on. Simple and harsh all at the same time. That’s why brands need to focus on making sure they deliver on a brand promise and connect with customers as much as possible. It’s everything from the big things like new programs and initiatives to the little things like knowledgeable, helpful employees that make customers lifelong supporters of a brand.

There are many brands that don’t focus on their customer service. They know it’s important and they have a process and protocol, but there’s never a push to go that extra mile. These are status-quo brands. Ones that will never receive a social media push, a thank-you on Twitter, or even a recommendation to a friend. But then there are brands that others should follow. Take note, because they are doing all the right things to make sure customers get what they should, and even more, than they expect. Chili’s is one of these brands. Probably not a brand that was first on the list of those who excel in customer service, but the brand has knocked it out of the park. Maybe it’s their long-standing training or a re-focus around putting the customer first, but whatever it is, they are doing something right. When a customer came in with her autistic sister and she wouldn’t eat her burger because it was cut in half, the server made it right. With a smile. By happily getting the seven-year-old an uncut burger. Seems minimal, right? That’s exactly it; all these little details are things that customers aren’t finding everywhere, so they treasure them.

What do these little things cost a brand? Almost nothing, but also a lot. There is time involved in hiring and training and putting a focus around what the brand delivers and how each employee is empowered. But then there’s also what the brand receives. A social media flurry where a customer shares a great picture — an uplifting story — and customers are again engaged with the brand. That, friends, is priceless.

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About the Author
Janet Kalandranis is here to give you all the little brand thoughts that run through her head with a little dash of spice. Find her online here.
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