personal branding photos by britneygardner.com

When Customer Service Hurts Your Brand

A few days ago, I had a bad morning. I had an email scheduled to go out at 7am. As I was sipping my tea latte that morning and going through my overnight email, I realized I didn’t see the newsletter email in my inbox.

This newsletter was a big one for me – not only was I announcing my new 7-day email challenge to brand up the next level, I linked to a big giveaway I participated in. And it started at 7am that day.

I logged onto my email service provider and saw that my email was “under review” and I immediately logged onto the live chat. The CSR was 100% unhelpful, couldn’t give any answers about why it was under review and couldn’t give a timeline as to when the review would be over. To rub salt in the wound, well after 8am, he was completely unapologetic about the situation. To paraphrase, he said that they don’t guarantee delivery of any particular email.

Seeing as I pay them to do just that, I was livid.

personal branding photos by britneygardner.com

Eventually, I deleted that email and copied the content to a new one. It went out just after 9am. There was no delay in the second copy, so I can only assume their queue of reviewing is deep and not attentive.

Later I got in touch with another support agent through email support instead of live chat. The new agent gave me a few tips on how to avoid this problem in the future. He didn’t have a plethora of answers, but was at least polite and trying to help. It still hasn’t changed my sour attitude about the company, but at least I didn’t feel the need to dump them immediately after a slightly better interchange.

Contrast this with another company, another tech support issue, and a much better experience… all on the same day. And since I appreciate good people, I’ll call out Leadpages as having fantastic support staff!

How great customer service build up your brand trust

The night before this email debacle, I was putting the finishing touches on a new landing page for the email challenge mentioned above. I chose to check out the new beta editor they’d just launched that day and ran into an issue, so I tried to contact their support. It was late and live chat was not active, and somehow I was locked out of the support side of the website with no link to reset my password visible. It was a big launch day for Leadpages with some new products, though, so I figured I’d wait.

The next morning, not only was the live chat agent helpful, they had a double followup. I started the chat out by telling him the reason I initially contacted them, and also mentioning I couldn’t log in to the support area. He addressed the initial issue first by letting me know the feature I needed wasn’t available in the beta release, BUT gave me an easy workaround. I’m now using the workaround. It was also easy! And then he helped me reset my password for the support area.

Several hours later, a different team member contacted me, concerned about me missing a link to reset my password on my own. They asked if I remembered which page it was. I didn’t, but I had taken a screenshot of the page because I thought it was odd there wasn’t a link. They thanked me.

These two issues happened on the same day. They are both tech companies, both serving people completely online. They’re both services that any business online depends upon and NEEDS to work. And they responded completely differently. And if you break down what I pay them on a monthly basis, they cost about the same as well.

And you can guess, I’m a lot happier with one versus the other right now.

One company treated me as a nuisance. The other company treated me like a valued customer. Neither knows me personally. For each, this was the second time I’d had a support issue. It’s a coincidence they happened on the same day and I could so easily compare the two experiences.

There are a few things worth pointing out here:
  1. Both companies have blue and white logos, with blue often invoking feelings of trust. One of these companies lived up to that brand feeling and the other burned it.
  2. Neither company could solve my initial issue. Even Leadpages had to give me a workaround because what I want is just not available right now. But I don’t hold it against Leadpages. I do bear a grudge against my email service provider. Their tech support wasn’t willing to provide an answer or a timeline. Ultimately, I had to delete the campaign and start over to create my own solution and feeling lucky when it worked.
  3. Follow up. I’ve been told I’m not the best at it, and I’m working on this. I was already happy with Leadpages’ response, but then a second agent following up to ensure this wouldn’t happen to another customer made my even happier with them. That is above and beyond.

No amount of brand-ing can save your brand in the face of poor customer service.

Both of these issues could have hurt my perception of these companies, and both could have built more brand loyalty. What’s more, this love letter to Leadpages wouldn’t be happening if it weren’t for the awful response I dealt with just prior. I would have chalked up my Leadpages experience as a nice interaction, but not thought much past that. The pedestal they now stand on was built by another company’s poor customer service.

So which option do you want to choose in your business?

If you want a sneak peek at the brand challenge I created, you should add the 7-day day challenge to your inbox. And since we both know half the reason you’re going to do that right now is to see who my current email service provider is, I’ll just go ahead and let you know it’s really easy to figure out by doing this.

Join the Challenge