You’ve got your big brand style guide (you have, right?) but for the people who are on the front line all-day-every-day, you need to create something far more concise.
Your brand guide for customer service should be easily referenced while someone is talking to a customer – nothing fancy, nothing pretentious and nothing too verbose.
Because yes – we all write brand guidelines that are aspirational and a bit up themselves. When it comes to turning calls into sales, there’s no time for that nonsense.
What a good brand guide for customer service looks like
Two purposes here: indoctrination of the customer service team and improvement of customer experience.
The first is all about getting your guys speaking the brand language – making the right phrases part of every call. It helps if this also makes the team feel part of the brand and gets them believing in what they’re saying, but just making the guide in the first place will go a long way towards that.
The second is more obvious. Every customer who calls (or chat, emails, texts – whatever) should have an amazing experience and that takes serious work. Prepping your team properly is the key to keeping EVERYONE happy.
Intro to the brand
Your elevator pitch. But not your investor elevator pitch; your customer elevator pitch. Because everything you put in your brand guide for customer service has to be repeatable verbatim to any caller. That’s the point!
So, keep it brief. Keep it human.
Where we came from
This is a great source of friendly anecdotes for your customer service team. Telling stories is a time-honoured way to people’s hearts, so give the team a great backstory. Again: short and sweet.
These should be exactly the same as in your main brand guidelines. If you find yourself thinking they’re a bit lofty for everyday, you’ve got them wrong. If your brand values aren’t actionable by the people actually selling or explaining your products, they’re useless.
Things we don’t say
You can’t predict every situation and you can’t always stop mistakes from happening. But you can identify phrases you know you don’t want anyone using to represent the business.
This should include things you’re legally not allowed to say, so make sure your customer service team has easy guidelines to follow if your industry is regulated.
You never want to script people too much. However, if there are phrases you use over and over in your marketing, it makes sense that those should be repeated everywhere to give a consistent message.
Anything promised in your marketing should be what your customer service team is delivering. A disjointed experience lets down the customer’s expectations.
This may very well cross over with the customer service team’s general product training but it’s good if their answers to questions match up with and expand on any FAQs you have on your website.
Partners and directors
If there’s any part of your service that you outsource, your customer service team needs to know those partners’ names, roles and contact details. Your customer expects a seamless experience so outsourcing is no excuse for any out-of-brand feeling.
My own preference is to call EVERY business involved ‘we’, if other partners are providing a service under my company’s name. The customer doesn’t care that it’s the courier’s fault their delivery hasn’t turned up. They don’t want to hear that it’s your supplier that hasn’t provided new stock for two weeks.
If it’s part of the service YOU are offering, it’s all you.