Is your business brand walking the talk?
Posted on October 14 2016
Written by Ava Lucanus, Customer Experience Specialist, presenter for Corporate Grooming, and guest blogger for Louise M shoes.
What are your customers saying about your business? Recent research reveals that 82% of businesses claim their customer service ranks “good, very good or superior,” but in reality only 8% of their customers agree.
For the small minority of businesses, good reviews are the positive result of careful strategy, systems and staff training, to ensure their customer experience is in alignment with their brand. But for many others, there is a massive gap between what they promise their customers and what their customers actually experience. This gap, if not fixed, can fast erode customer trust and reduce retention.
Trust is the new currency in business, with new research revealing it to be one of the key factors in customer acquisition and retention. People buy from people they trust. It doesn’t matter how good your product or service is in your mind, if your customers lose trust in you they will vote with their feet; and leave a negative review on the way out.
Your brand is what people see, hear and feel about your business, or your image. Your online reviews are a part of your brand. So is your logo, advertising, website and even the way your staff present themselves with their appearance, grooming, body language and communication skills. Branding can be a costly and time consuming exercise and many companies invest heavily but make the fatal mistake of not communicating their brand story to their staff.
Miscommunication can be fatal to any business, and the resulting lack of cohesion and consistency in staff poorly showcasing your brand to your customers can end badly with major mistrust. Particularly in the current business downturn, when it’s a buyer’s markets out there, and customers have become much more savvy. With more and more customers complaining online rather than directly to the business, one negative online review can become viral at the click of a mouse.
So how can you control that what your customers see, hear and feel is in alignment with your brand? Simple - take a look at your people. Are they confident and skilled at providing a consistent, positive experience for your customers?
There are two key factors that need to be consistent – the impression that your people portray and the way they communicate. First impressions are lasting, and as Will Rogers once said, “You never get a second chance to make a first impression”.
The first impression of your business will make or break your customer’s attitude so it’s vital that your teams are unified and consistent. The impression they create will extend beyond them to the entire company and this will become your company’s image. Don’t leave your image to chance - it takes many years to build a solid business reputation and just minutes to lose it.
Four key components are important in ensuring your customer experience is in alignment with your brand:
- The art of communication
Ensure each and every member of your team is skilled in the art of listening, problem solving, and understanding the impact of what they say and how they say it. Don’t leave it to chance – with the rampant uptake of technology in the 21st century, great interpersonal communication skills are not a given anymore.
- Not just any shoe
Marilyn Munroe famously said “Give a girl the right shoes, and she can conquer the world”. It’s true your shoes are an important part of your image and people do judge you by the shoes you wear. When you’re wearing shoes all day at work, it’s far better to invest in well fitted, quality leather shoes with a leather lining. If you’ve ever experienced wearing an uncomfortable pair of shoes all day, you’ll know that it impacts heavily on your health, happiness and wellbeing. And stressed, unhappy employees means unhappy customers.
- Walk the talk
That well known Hamlet quote “Clothes maketh the man” (or woman) still rings true in the modern day. How your people look, sit, stand and walk are all part of your branding. Everyone is different, so if you have a uniform, make sure you also have a style guide and provide training ensure your people know how to wear it correctly with their shoes, accessories, suitable hair style and appropriate makeup.
It’s important that your people’s makeup and hair styles are appropriate to your brand. As you can imagine, a high end fashion business and a professional law firm would have completely different standards. Treat your people to a ‘corporate makeover’ with a visiting hair and makeup artist to show them what you expect. They can learn how to do a subtle yet professional 10 minute makeup and simple hairstyle that will look impressive.
Many businesses I speak with complain that their people are not conforming to professional standards, when in reality they are assuming their people know what the standard is. Make sure your corporate grooming guidelines are communicated to your people so there are no guessing games. Successful companies take the time to pay attention to the details, the little things that all add up to become your brand.
About Corporate Grooming
Four specialists in the fields of communications, styling, hair and makeup, and corporate footwear present a workshop to ensure your team presents your brand to a consistently high standard.
'Corporate Grooming' was established in June 2016 following a conversation with boutique hotel, Hougoumont Fremantle, director Patrick Prendiville. Mr Prendiville was wanting to unify the Hougoumont team to showcase the Hougoumont brand to give customer's an experience beyond expectation every time they visited.
Louise Matson created a solution for Mr Prendiville with the formation of Corporate Grooming and a 3 hour customised workshop to address the Hougoumont needs.
The workshops are now available for your business. We can customise workshops to ensure your team showcases your business brand exactly as you envision.
Meet the Corporate Grooming team from, left to right. Customer Experience Specialist Ava Lucanus, Corporate Stylist Lizelle Hartley, Director of Corporate Grooming and Corporate Shoe Specialist Louise Matson, and Make Up Specialist Brittany Mason.
For more information and a proposal, on how we can help your team successfully showcase your corporate brand, contact Louise Matson Director of Corporate Grooming.
T: 0417 933 523
See the range of corporate shoes available for your team at: http://www.louisemshoes.com.
Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for your shoe needs or any questions you have.
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