Branding is typically a visual, digital discipline. Customer service is just as important – and more human.
What you’ll learn in this article about the importance of a brand’s customer service?
• Why a brand’s customer service is important
• How to improve your customer service
• The statistics behind good customer service
Customer service is something that isn’t always done well in football. The nature of the game means that the interaction between a player, a fan, and a club is often few and far between. Similarly, it’s often done at a distance. When football people move into the corporate world, a brand’s customer service can be a concept that needs familiarisation.
For example, players and fans don’t tend to have personal interaction. It’s difficult to get close to those at the heart of clubs nowadays, even through corporate channels. Executives are hard to contact, coaches aren’t easily accessible, players even less so.
When it comes to the matchday experience for a fan, customer service isn’t a concept that – arguably – holds as much importance as it would do in a shop, hotel or restaurant. In fact, the most obvious form of ‘customer service’ at a football match day likely comes for a very small proportion of those who attend the match, in a corporate ‘box’.
However, the principles of a brand’s customer service hold true in football, although perhaps in more implicit ways. The length of the queue for the ticket office? That ties into customer service. An abusive fan in the stadium being removed? That also ties into customer service. The price of the fish and chip van compared to the portion size? That ties into customer service too.
And when we turn to a sports media brand’s customer service, especially the likes of Sky Sports and BT Sport, customer service is reaching wider. Football on demand (for a fee) was the foundation block.
Today, different matches are available off the red button where there is a lack of space on the main channel, match passes can be bought on-the-day, anywhere in the world, through mediums like IFollow and NOW TV, and the availability to watch a game on lots of different platforms all tie into the concept of a brand’s customer service.
A brand’s customer service – in football, a club or media outlet – is an often implicit but nonetheless key part of its reputation and wider brand identity. Yet, in football, the nature of the game tends to mean that the customer service within it isn’t very obvious.
When a footballer starts a business, it’s vital they become accustomed to the importance of a brand’s customer service.
Football players themselves are the individuals who arguably have nothing to do with the customer service side of the game. Many footballers are excellent role models, do work in the community, and give up their time for fans. However, it’s not unreasonable to say that, during their careers, footballers tend to have a lot done for them – rather than the other way around.
Training facilities are getting better all the time, with players in Europe’s top five divisions (and increasingly below) having access to world class pitches, recovery and care, nutrition facilities and coaches of the highest calibre. Player care – during a career at least – is the best that it has ever been.
More footballers are teaming with retailers to form brand partnerships, receiving the latest boots, gloves, and teamware from high-end manufacturers. We’ve even reached a point where private vehicle hire firms are partnering with clubs. For players attaining ‘celebrity status’, lifestyle undoubtedly becomes one of luxury.
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That’s not to say all footballers enjoy these benefits. However, in the game’s nature, the players are the stars and the customer service is more often than not provided for them.
When it comes to starting a business as a footballer, the concept of a brand’s customer service is one that a player-turned-businessman needs to get up to speed with. Fast.
From the ‘Hello World’ moment of footballer’s business, to the very end of the journey, customer service remains an integral cog in the modern business machine. The footballer, and the brand they stand behind, become a service-provider. Their financial success and personal reputation are – bluntly – at the mercy of the consumer.
Rather than being the star, the customer or client must become the star. But why is a brand’s customer service so important?
The importance of a brand’s customer service
When a footballer starts a business, they may be able to enjoy the fact that their on-pitch reputation brings a degree of authority to their brand. This can come through a healthy social following, access to start-up funds that, in its nature, can imply a higher quality product, and the very fact that footballers tend to have recognisable faces.
These things can all put a strong foundation underneath a brand before a product has even been sold, all through the power of familiarity and reputation.
Yet, a footballer’s start-up is still at the mercy of the market, as any other start-up is. At the end of the day, if a brand is bad, it won’t win business. As such, it’s vital that any footballer’s brand defines its own reputation. The image of the player will only carry it so far.
A brand can improve its reputation through lots of different means, but one of the easiest – and cheapest – is its customer service.
Statistically, the importance of good customer service speaks volumes. A selection of statistics published by leading marketing agency HubSpot portray the numerical importance of this important part of any brand.
They reported that:
- An increase in customer retention of merely 5% can equate to an increase in profit of 25%. Great customer service encourages customers to return.
- 72% of customers will share a positive experience with six or more people. Word of mouth is a pivotal marketing mechanism for a start-up with a small marketing budget.
- 67% of customers would pay more to get a better customer service experience. This speaks for itself.
Simply, great customer service creates loyalty to a brand. The positive emotions evoked within a customer are attached to the image of the brand, further reinforcing the strength of a visual identity (the icons and cues, such as logos and taglines, that users come to associate positive emotions with).
Both online and in person, a brand’s customer service can remain a priority. In person, having a knowledgeably and well-staffed store will improve the interactions between consumers and brand. Fast service from engaged employees who care about what they do immediately presents an image of a brand ready and willing to gain a competitive edge and drive their own standards higher.
Online, using chatbots, an active email address easily located, a telephone/WhatsApp number to call and a well structured, easy to navigate website will make your customer’s experience more fluid and comfortable. In turn, you’re more likely to be bought into, or bought from.
If you’re starting a business as a footballer, give yourself the best chance of making a difference. Make it with JAX Branding.
Want to kick off your football business career today? Chat with Jack, and start your journey.