Branded Customer Service
A book by Janelle Barlow and Paul Stewart.
Review by Nick Sampson.
In Branded Customer Service, Barlow and Stewart provide a roadmap to getting staff to 'deliver on the brand promise'. Given, they argue, that customer service satisfaction is on a downward spiral, and that brand differentiation is critical in an increasingly commoditised marketplace, branded customer service provides the new competitive edge. Using the premise 'service is your brand in action' as their starting point (where so many branding books end!), they explore multiple strands and implications highly relevant to HR, Operations, Customer Services and Brand Managers alike.
The book is well written but somewhat variable. Whilst Part 1: Link the Big World of Branding to Customer Service presents a compelling case to taking a synergistic approach to customer service and branding, Part 2: Embedding On-Brand Service into your Organisational DNA (essentially the book's substantiation) was curiously disappointing. This can be attributed in the main to the unconvincing and petty nature of many of the examples cited. This left the reader with the impression that whilst facilitating understanding of a brand within an organisation was ultimately do-able, actually achieving differentiated customer service (not just generic good customer service) in real life felt almost improbable. Nonetheless, Part 3: The Brand Customer Toolbox concludes the book with gold and is worth the price of the book alone.
Overall I would recommend Branded Customer Service for a number of reasons:
- The argument for branded customer service is well considered and articulates the latest in brand thinking in an accessible manner.
- The core 'On/Off Brand Concept' is compellingly simple and smart.
- The frameworks featured throughout present robust and incisive thinking.
- The toolbox's brand awareness and on-brand exercises look excellent.
For the latest in brand thinking, Toolbox exercises, on-brand and off-brand examples, visit www.brandedservice.com.