General Charles Krulak, former Commandant of the US Marines, spoke of the demands placed on those on the frontline of the modern urbanised battlefield. He highlighted how the guys at the pointy end of a conflict now have to juggle full scale military conflict with providing peacekeeping and humanitarian aid; sometimes all at the same time.

Krulak wrote, “In many cases, the individual Marine will be the most conspicuous symbol of American foreign policy and will potentially influence not only the immediate tactical situation, but the operational and strategic levels as well.”

Seth Godin neatly interpreted and applied this to the business environment in his book, “Linchpin”. ”Krulak’s Law is simple: The closer you get to the front, the more power you have over the brand.”

At Tyro, we believe this is a law the brands waging war on the modern business battlefront would do well to do more than just take note of, especially those of us conducting operations in the financial arena. Not exactly noted for their customer-focus, many Australian financial institutions continue to place their frontline troops as far away from their customers as possible.

The cost-related decision to put their support capability in the hands of an off-shore call centre tells the customer everything they need to know about the real value their bank places on this vital function. The collateral damage to brand image that results from this policy may take a while to manifest itself but it’s the kind of damage that means the battle for customers hearts and minds will be lost.

At Tyro, our Customer Support is based in Sydney, Australia. So, when our customers have a skirmish with a fraudster or an encounter with technology that requires a call for reinforcements, they speak to someone who can immediately relate and empathise with them. Someone who is very much on their side who takes ownership of a problem and does their level best to resolve it as quickly as possible.

So, just like the frontline troops in a warzone, Customer Support needs to be valued and supported because when it hits the fan, from the customer’s perspective, they are the voice of the brand.