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Required Reading: Protecting Your Brand at All Costs
Great branding doesn't come from gimmicks -- it derives from exceptional, innovative customer service.
For the rest of the November 2007 issue of CRM magazine please click here
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The Brand Who Cried Wolf is a handbook for companies and individuals who want to establish and sustain their most powerful and successful brands. It presents a blueprint for turning typical customers into raving evangelists for life. In the book, author Scott Deming explains that great branding doesn't come from gimmicks or even from good advertising. Great branding begins and ends with exceptional, innovative customer service. Great companies are those that not only deliver on their promises to customers, but also transcend those promises to create one-of-a-kind emotional experiences. CRM magazine: Name one or two of the biggest reasons you think brands fail to deliver on their promises to customers. Deming: First and foremost, management fails to train, empower, and inspire properly. We are typically dealing with minimum-wage, commissioned, or part-time workers in the customer service industry, such as retail and fast food. These people do not fully understand their role in creating and preserving their company's brand, because they are focused on protecting their jobs, making their money, getting through the week. It's management's responsibility to help these employees understand their role, the importance of their position, the fact that they are important to the customer service process. Second, most companies are focused on the bottom line. When your focus is profit instead of service, your success is short-term, just like your goals. Most companies today are so focused on the bottom line that they're replacing people with technology, such as massive and confusing phone systems to navigate through. The fact is, cutting out human interaction erodes your brand. With no people to connect to and get emotional over, there is no possibility of building brand loyalty. CRM magazine: That said, how does a brand that does deliver on its promises help to drive customer loyalty and positive word-of-mouth marketing for a company? Deming: With consistent, sincere, emotional, and unique interactions with every customer, every time. Your customers become your PR agents. They become your evangelists. People get emotional over experiences and they become loyal to people, not to the product. They will talk about you and not your products, which is paramount because chances are they can get the same products somewhere else. If you follow this simple process, you will create your powerful, emotional brand.
CRM magazine: What will readers find most interesting about your book? Deming: The simple, easy-to-follow processes that are almost, like, "Duh!" when you read them. You know this stuff, but you either forgot about it all, or you think you're too busy to go back and try it again. Each chapter starts off with a famous children's fable, to help bring the reader back to the early-in-life lessons and values that made us the good and decent people we are today. Then it launches into the chapter's lesson. As adults, we become very busy and our perspective becomes somewhat distorted. My goal with this book is to get the reader to understand a process and some lessons that will quickly and forever improve their personal and professional brand. Other Page-Turners:
  • Salespeople are under tremendous pressure to battle the price war, but at what cost? A sales team with a poor understanding of what is valuable to the customer -- and of what makes its product superior -- turns its salespeople into value spendthrifts. In Value Merchants: Demonstrating and Documenting Superior Value in Business Markets, authors James Anderson, Nirmalya Kumar, and James Narus introduce a set of business techniques to estimate the value of your market offerings and create propositions that resonate with customers.
  • In today's world, business is all about being genuine, sincere, and authentic. But in this increasingly cynical world, how do consumers choose what -- or even if -- to buy? Jim Gilmore and Joe Pine are back to help implement a new business imperative: authenticity. Their new book, Authenticity: What Consumers Really Want, provides tools and tactics to enable businesses to cut through the clutter, evaluate their offerings, and render the most authentic experience from their customers' perspective.
  • Every company strives to balance customer service quality and efficiency with the pressures of cost-cutting and profitability, but achieving this balance is often difficult within the contact center. In his new book, Customer Centricity through Workforce Optimization, author Bill Durr, principal global solutions consultant at Verint Witness Actionable Solutions, examines how companies can sustain long-term competitive advantage by re-engineering human resource allocation and employee management processes to become more customer-focused.
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