September 05, 2021
The brand's touch points with customers are often in places where no one expected them to be. Of course, I won't be able to give all the examples, but I'm happy to give one of the less obvious ones here.
Companies spend huge amounts of money to acquire customers. They invest in building relationships with clients, shaping brand image, or campaigns supporting sales. This happens both in traditional communication channels and of course in modern ones. The "leads" obtained in this way are then meticulously processed and an often lengthy and costly sales process follows.
I can say with confidence bordering on certainty that by now we have probably all come across companies in our careers that had their own hidden problems or industry secrets. People employed by these companies are expected to maintain secrecy and to act according to predetermined rules.
I remember one meeting at a global company where they bragged that the denial rate on customer complaints had already exceeded 83% and the goal was 92%. The employees applauded, there were hugs and congratulations, and I stood by with my eyes wide open. The situation shocked me so much that I couldn't say a word for a long time. What just happened? What have I just witnessed? A million thoughts flashed through my head. I wondered about the implications of this situation. After all, the company is not a closed, fanatical sect from which there is no escape. Employee turnover is natural, and in companies with problems, that turnover is usually at a higher level.
Maybe it's acting in the words of Richard Branson: "Customers are NOT the most important thing. The employees are". The company's action to generate profits, at the expense of customers.... indeed! I guess that's how this company works wanting a 92% claim rejection rate!
But was that Richard Branson's intention? I doubt it.
The idea behind Branson's words was to take care of employees, meet their expectations, accept their weaknesses, and treat their mistakes only as an element of learning. This automatically creates a friendly atmosphere in the company, which generates natural satisfaction among employees. Doesn't being happy in what we do improve our performance? Of course you do! Then the employee becomes a brand ambassador. It works so that the customer is satisfied. It works that way because the company is fair. Is this utopia? Not necessarily.
Companies that don't respect their employees don't respect their customers either.
I have been wondering for a very long time whether the above sentence should be developed and explained. Should I now have an academic discussion with myself - putting forward a thesis and defending it on the one hand and attacking it on the other? But I don't know of any case of a company that respects its customers - while disrespecting its employees. I have no doubt about that. However, let us consider the subject of this article. Today we were supposed to talk about the points of contact between the brand and the customers. Why am I concerned with the employee and the unethical (someone else will say: business) conduct of the company?
It's very simple... but as always, the simplest things are the hardest. We live in a prosumer world. This term has emerged relatively recently. It means that the same, single person often performs two roles simultaneously: the salesperson and the customer.
Brands naively separate these two functions. They assume that their employees live in a vacuum, in some soap bubble that will never burst. I witnessed the demise of a huge meat brand after employees exposed to the media the illegal practice taking place in that company of re-marketing refreshed products that were already expired. Attempts to save the brand, assuring clients of the change in procedures, new quality and saying that "thanks to you we have become better" - did not save the brand from collapse. The brand that had been built over many years disappeared from the market. The owner decided to launch a new brand in the market. While it was a difficult decision - in my opinion it was the only solution to protect the company (not the brand) from bankruptcy. They started to build the brand from scratch, and I don't think I need to convince you that this is a long and expensive process. Has the owner learned from this situation. I hope so. I also hope that competitors learn from the mistakes of others.
Today I've outlined a very overlooked "touch point" between brands and customers. This topic can be elaborated on and I will certainly do so, because it is a very important issue from the point of view of company operations, marketing and communication. Now dear readers, marketers, directors, CEOs and owners: read the reviews of your company on the internet. If employees speak negatively... you have a problem. Problem with Clients. It's time to finally realize that.
Can this situation be diagnosed and improved? Yes, although it is not an easy task, because it is often associated with very difficult decisions - even in the mental sphere of the owners or managers of the company. I know, and truly believe, that these activities - while seemingly not everyone connects them to marketing - are one of the most important marketing activities in a company. It is surprising that so few people recognize this.
The above article is the private opinion of the author. It was not intended to offend anyone or depreciate the brand. We treat this article in educational terms. If you feel that the author in any way e.g. violated the good name of your brand - contact the author. I'm sure we'll come to a common understanding.
A professional with many years of experience gained during the full process of designing and implementing marketing strategies, brand building, marketing communication, organization of trade marketing activities and their logistics in the supply chain. An expert in the field of brand activation, lotteries, commercial marketing, shopper marketing, e-commerce. A person with an open mind and taking advantage of opportunities that the competition does not see. Multidisciplinary, with a lot of positive energy. A negotiator using the Scotwork method.