In our previous post, we discussed a few of the reasons why it is important to extend your branding to interactions your customer-facing employees have with your customers. As entrepreneurs and business managers, you would never allow your employees to change your logo or your company colors each day or on a whim. Yet many businesses have no plan to ensure that their employees, especially their customer-facing employees, are incorporating their brand into the daily interactions they have with customers. Why is it so important to keep your employees on message, and ensure that message properly reflects your branding?
Customer Interactions Are Part Of Your Brand
You’ve likely experienced a situation as a consumer in which an employee of a company communicated in such a way that did not match the impression you had based on your exposure to the brand. That interaction likely felt disconcerting and even like a betrayal, which likely did not result in you returning as a repeat customer. No matter what your brand stands for or what differentiates you from your competitors, if your employees are conveying an incorrect message to your customers, then the money you’ve spent on developing your brand and incorporating it into your brand message can be easily wasted.
Should You Rely On A Script?
One of the biggest mistakes that business owners and managers make when it comes to developing a plan to keeping their employees on message is thinking that a script is the only tool that an employee needs. When an employee of a large organization deals with hundreds of inquiries from customers, many of those inquiries are identical or very similar, and a script that contains formulated, pre-approved responses is an excellent way to quickly, consistently, and adequately address these inquiries. However, if your employees deal with a wide range of customer inquiries and interactions in person, by phone, email, or over social media, a script will quickly get discarded.
The Key To Successfully Staying On Message Is Scalability
Instead of writing a script of pre-written responses or phrases, the key to keeping your employees on message when communicating with customers is to emphasize the exact message you want your brand to convey to customers. You should then practice scenarios in which your employees develop their own way to correctly communicate that message to customers. Practice scenarios that are both short and long detailed interactions and stress to your employees that every customer interaction is important to maintaining your brand messaging, no matter how short or brief that interaction may be.
Shadowing Your Employees
Conveying the importance of staying on message and practicing it in role-playing scenarios is important, but unless you spend some time shadowing your employees during real customer interactions, you won’t know if they are following through and putting your messaging into practice. Electronic communications can be easily monitored, and shadowing your employees during customer phone calls is also relatively easy to do. Yet you will need to ensure that you are complying with any state or local laws regarding call monitoring when doing so. Shadowing your employees in person can be more time-consuming, but it provides an excellent opportunity to not only ensure that your employees are in compliance with messaging, but to also provide other guidance and training necessary when necessary. Don’t treat this shadowing as a way to play “gotcha” with your employees – instead, offer constructive ways to bring them back on message.