people chatting and laughing

How often have you heard that you need to “build your brand”? Maybe you’ve tried to increase awareness of your brand, associate your brand with specific keywords or increase brand loyalty. You can do a lot of things to your brand, but I’ve never noticed a clear description of what a “brand” actually is.

So let’s make it clear: your “brand” is not your company, it’s the way your company makes customers feel. It’s not an advertising campaign or a slogan, it’s the emotional experience that customers have when they buy your product, deal with your staff or even bring up your company in conversation. Another way to say this is that your brand isn’t just words customers (and non-customers) would use to describe you, it’s the emotions that come with those words.

Emotional Branding

Let’s try an experiment: how would you describe your cable company? I don’t know where you live or what service you use, but I’m willing to bet you’d use expletives. Have you ever tried to deal with one of these companies on the phone? You probably haven’t gotten an easy answer to any of your problems. What you probably have gotten is an upsell attempt and maybe even the runaround from one agent to another.

For me personally, I never really disliked my cable company until I called them. They did maintenance on my network that shut off the service during the first day of the NCAA basketball tournament, my favorite day of the year. They didn’t know that. They also didn’t know that I had invited friends over to watch my alma mater play and was extremely disappointed to find my channels unavailable.

I called to see what had happened and was told they they were doing scheduled maintenance and I’d have my service back in a few hours. The agent didn’t offer any sympathy or any resolution. The channels that I paid for just didn’t work and there was nothing they could do. I felt like the company didn’t care about me and the instance that convinced me of that was talking to a person who didn’t care about me.

Let’s try another experiment. This time, think of a company that you personally consider to have a positive brand. I’d be more than willing to bet that the positive emotions came from a situation (or several) where you ran into problems and an individual from the company went above and beyond to solve it.

I’d also be willing to bet that the voice or the face of the person who ultimately solved your problem is what you remember. When you think about company’s brand, you’re really thinking about that agent.

Your Brand Is How You Treat People

When companies work on developing their brand, too often the focus is on a one-way relationship: persuading customers to change the way they behave toward your company. But that’s missing half of the equation. How you behave toward your customers is a critical part of your brand.

The moral of the two examples above is simple: your company’s person-to-person interactions with customers are memorable. Customers remember the frustration of waiting too long to talk to an agent. They also remember an agent who resolves their issues quickly and completely. The emotions from those interactions are your brand.

At Talkdesk, our goal is to help businesses and customers connect on a personal level. We realize that customers who call in with support problems are providing companies with a chance to establish positive experiences. The door is open to show customers that your company cares about them.

What we’re building allows agents to interact with customers in a way that makes them feel valued on a personal level. We think that part of this solution is equipping agents with information so customers don’t have to waste their time explaining issues. Another part is providing contact center supervisors data on how calls are being handled so they can make real-time decisions that will benefit customers.

When it comes down to it, your company doesn’t need to focus on your brand, your company needs to focus on your customers. There’s no silver branding bullet, but a strategy that puts people first is an immediate improvement for your company.

There’s no silver branding bullet, but a solution like Talkdesk – one that you can use to provide positive personal experiences – is crucial to today’s customers.