Despite their popularity, large multinationals are constantly squirreling away wondering how to build brand awareness. This is even more so the case with smaller brands that are in the initial growth stage of their brand journey.

While companies spend big budgets on marketing campaigns to build brand awareness, they often forget a less costly, more long-term way to reach their goal: strong customer service and reputable brand engagement.

Your customers should be right at the center of your business and there’s no reason to work on brand awareness and customer support individually. It makes sense to team the two together. In this article, we’ll go over a few steps on how to build brand awareness using customer support.

Build quality reviews

Did you know that 61% of customers read online reviews before making a purchase decision and over 50% of people check reviews before hiring service-oriented businesses?

You better make sure that those reviews are good ones!

One way of collecting testimonials is to simply ask for reviews, whether that be by asking for a review at the point of sale, reaching out on social media, or including a call to action on an invoice. Sadly, this process can be quite time-consuming so, if you do go down this route, figure out the best way to automate the asking process.

CX experts all agree that when you acknowledge your customers about the value they’ll get from taking the time to write a review, it will increase the chances of receiving good feedback. Timely messaging and proper sentence structure are essential in this part of the sales funnel. The best time to hit for the most positive reviews is right after someone bought your product, or once the service has finished.

When it comes to wording, always reach out with your customer in mind. It’s one thing to ask, “Help us improve our service”, as opposed to, “Send your feedback so we can better improve your experience”. The latter uses a more direct tone letting the customer know that you want to scale your service by really understanding their needs. Let them know that their feedback will help other people and eventually, include a small rewarding program for best reviews.

In addition, it’s also a great idea to complement your review program by implementing further interactions with them, like upvoting/downvoting, or even comments if applicable.

Getting the best reviews

The best reviews are those that come organically, based on great customer support received from your company. If you make somebody’s day by solving their problem, people will tell stories about you.

Word of mouth spreads and people will tell stories about that time Zappos saved a wedding, or when Mortons brought a steak to someone as they were getting off the plane. On an everyday level, great customer support and being customer-centric is why people would recommend your brand over others – and that gets you more awareness than any passing paid ad.

Bad customer service is something that can shed customers in no time at all – in fact, you might be surprised to read that 61% of Americans would consider switching companies after being faced with poor customer service. On the flip side, though, having a great reputation for good customer service could encourage 55% of consumers to become new customers.

No doubt that both of these options entail meticulous work plans, but there is no better way to reach new customers and generate trust.

With that in mind, we need to understand that the end results are not solely based on the Customer Support team reaching new heights. Brands must partake in taking measures to adapt their overall messaging across all channels, starting with truly understanding their target audience. The best way to begin is by incorporating emotional marketing, storytelling, enabling customers to better engage through social media, and any other tool and funnel your customers spend most of their time with. Set a clear idea of your brand’s positioning – also compared to your competitors, set measurements of brand affinity and overall awareness, and make sure your customers know exactly what you’re all about.

Be aware of social media whisperings

What are people saying about your brand on social media platforms and are you making enough efforts to provide feedback and interact? Given that 78% of salespeople using social media outsell their peers, it pretty much sums up the thought of the importance of social listening, and far more importantly – interacting.

After all, your customer service team won’t just be in contact with customers on the phone and via email. These days, reaching out to customers and replying to queries and complaints on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram is a huge deal for brands.

One of the biggest mistakes any brand can make these days is to simply set up social media profiles and publish posts without checking the reaction to them. The whole point of sites like Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram is that they are interactive platforms for the public to engage with others, including brands.

Kasia Majewska of NapoleonCat explains further:

“Thanks to hashtags, social sharing, and all kinds of mentions, your content may reach people who are not really well acquainted with what you do and, sometimes, not even looking for services/products like yours.”

“That’s why it’s crucial to provide excellent customer service on social media. People may approach you with questions about your brand and your task is to do your best to raise their awareness. In the end, they may turn out to be your future customers!”

Of course, you may need to carry out some damage control if your social listening shows that people are speaking about your brand negatively. If that is the case, it’s worth getting your social media team to carry out some customer service on the various platforms.

We’re also seeing a lot of brands creating social groups and using these means as a way to personalize their approach channels to building and engaging with their community and the feedback we got from them was drastically improving customer engagement and personalizing their brand. This builds trust, loyalty, reputation, and above all – engagement.

Sure, your customers want excellent products from you, but the quality of your goods doesn’t mean they’ll put up with terrible customer support. Especially on social media, where they are able to get really vocal about any of your mishaps. By deploying your team onto various social media platforms, you can expand your excellent customer service and deal with any negativity in a professional manner.

So, ensure all of your customer service team are adept at handling the public on social media. This can help polish your online reputation and will get consumers talking about you in a positive light.

As well as that, this will improve customers’ experience with your brand and, as we’ve seen above, this is essential when looking into how to build brand awareness.

Increase customer engagement

Engagement is key to success across all your marketing channels. The more a post is engaged with, whether liked, shared, or commented on, the more people it will be shown to. That’s because the algorithm sees engaging posts as ones that are popular, so will place them higher up in more people’s timelines.

Being seen by more people means that you’re putting your brand in front of more people. Hello, better brand awareness!

Here is what you can do to increase customer engagement while also humanizing the brand:

  • Listen to what your customers have to say, and try to personalize the whole customer experience; 77% of customers will choose, pay more for, and recommend a brand that has personalized their whole customer experience;
  • Implement live chats to help improve customer service. Not only does this help to increase engagement, but it also offers real-time support to customers.

You will then show consumers that you take them seriously, making them a lot more likely to come back for a repeat purchase.

Aside from focusing on social media engagement, we need to consider also focusing on other channels customers use. Live chat is one of the strongest assets in engaging with customers, and there are more than a few apps you can use to better automate the entire process. Or, you can also take a more personalized ladder and build a chatbot of your own to improve the alignment with your branding and corresponding queries of your audience. Chatbots are becoming a leading force in proactive customer support, considering that over half of respondents say they prefer a bot over human-provided service as it saved them 10 minutes, according to ZDNet.

Some more ways we can work towards getting our customers to engage more with our brand:

  • Discounts and coupons – this gesture complements brand loyalty and increases the probability of buyers becoming your loyal customers. However, it’s important to know the extent of use; over-focusing on this will hurt your image in the long run;
  • Trial and Freemium lead nurturing – warming up potential leads is crucial to customer acquisition, and also affects future customer engagement. Always be available for all your consumers’ doubts and queries;
  • Create customized content addressing specific issues – providing valuable information and guidelines will help communicate more directly and generate brand trust towards your existing customers. It also gives a very clear pointer to potential customers that you care, listen, and work towards resolving any issue at hand;
  • Testimonial promotions – whenever you receive an amazing review, share it across all your social channels and mention the spokesperson (if allowed) to boost engagement;
  • Create and reward your fan club – loyal customers will want to stay engaged, and the best way to flourish this relationship is by giving small rewards. Staying human behind the brand is always a go-to strategy with loyal customers;
  • Send announcements in a timely fashion – avoid customer churn, especially during times of app breakage, or any other issues. Communicate with your customers through forums, blog content, or directly by email to let them know about news and forthcoming issues.

Once you start working on customer engagement, it will reflect on your brand engagement and benefit overall brand awareness. Customers will discuss your brand with their friends and family, and a lot of positive buzz will be generated.

Create educational content

Great content isn’t just for Google rankings and bringing in leads, it is also for keeping customers well-versed on your products and services.

In fact, the moment we start building content with the intent to acquire leads is when things go off the board. You may create high-ranking content, but if it’s not something your audience is looking for, you’ll start getting a general audience looking at your product and very likely create a bad rep.

Instead, create highly-educational resources wrapped up with personalized and creative ways that speak to your user personas to create a brand voice that is really looking to connect with and help their user base around issues and questions raised.

Content Marketer, Jeilan Devanesan, discusses how Venngage uses content marketing for customer support and brand awareness:

“I think support, educational content, and visual content help set the tone for your brand in a big way. Responsive, engaging support just shows that you care and that you’re there for the user. Highly-focused educational content demonstrates your understanding of your audience. The visuals that complement your content show off your character/brand persona (and helps with retaining information).”

Adding knowledge is also key to crafting expert content. This can be easily done with the use of a knowledge base, as it provides a wealth of wisdom and information for all content writers and marketers to add insight into their work.

There are some great studies about best practices in using knowledge bases, pointing out that most customers prefer using self-service for basic queries, which helps largely with consistency and automation.

Two main reasons why these central bases are important for improving customer success are internal use for improving feedback support for employees, and external use to better manage customer support, engagement, and automation. Most of these knowledge bases, at least the advanced ones, come with an AI-powered algorithm and additional content support, meaning that they can provide semantic solution options learning from the customer’s emotion, previous questions, and try to find the best possible answer for each individual query.

Final thoughts

On the face of it, customer support and brand awareness might seem like two completely separate aspects of running a successful brand. This article should have shown you that it isn’t always so clear-cut; the two are very close siblings when it comes to building brand reputation.

Even though both customer support and brand awareness can be closely intertwined, there are clear ways in which improving your customer support can really help to grow your brand awareness.

All it takes is watching your socials to see what users are saying about your brand and trying to increase posts’ engagement. Team this with expert customer service and well-defined brand values, and your overall awareness should really take off.

Cover image source: Franco Antonio Giovanella