How Do You Deliver A Consistent Customer Experience?
Too many brands only celebrate exceptional customer service. That means the rest of the time, service is simply ordinary. Instead, brands should define their standards based on what every customer gets every time and celebrate the percentage of times they deliver that standard. This way they are setting expectations with their customers and the more consistent they become, the more customers will see the consistency as their competitive differentiation.
Here are a few areas to consider:
- Make it easy for team members: Brands today often fall in love with loyalty programs and offer different levels of service to different levels of loyalty customers. This makes it difficult for team members. Why not treat every customer as a super loyal customer thereby creating more loyal customers, and team members can offer consistent service to everyone.
- Channel consistency: Customers today interact with a brand or access a brand through different media or third parties. The customers do not care how they get to the brand or the product, but they always want to have the same feeling and the same experience. Hence, brands should ensure the same consistent experience over all access modes.
- Consistency Dimensions: Consistency comes from store to store, employee to employee, and visit to visit, and connects to the benefits customers enjoy. Withdrawing a benefit without communication or consent is a major violation and is considered a breach of trust.
- Emotional Consistency: This may be the biggest consistency dimension, especially for service businesses with extended human interaction. Customers expect consistency in emotional connections, and if during the last visit there was a heart to heart talk and this time, the team member is quiet, the customer can feel emotionally rejected. Hence emotional consistency is a must.
Consistency is one of the top measures that drives customer loyalty. At the same time, a lack of consistency makes customers look for other options, as they no longer feel they can count on the brand.
What Should Every Customer Get Every Time?
I was running an offsite Senior Management meeting, when the team came to an agreement that the #1 barrier to business success was service consistency. After that, over the next day the team searched for different paths to get to service consistency but could not agree on one.
I had an idea. I gave each executive an index card and asked them to write down the top five service elements that every customer must receive every time. As they were busy writing, I reminded them that there were 11 executives in the room. That means if they were in total alignment, they should have the same 5 service elements and if they were totally non-aligned, they will have a total of 55 different service elements.
Once I tallied all the index cards, I realized that there were 31 different service elements mentioned and only 3 elements were mentioned by more than 6 executives. This showed the serious non-alignment of the brand at the Senior Management level and they had not defined what consistent service was. If Senior Management could not define consistent service, how could front-line employees be expected to deliver?
To achieve consistent service, everyone in the organization should be clear on what every guest must get every time.
Questions for You:
Creating your checklist for what every guest must get every time:
- Is it clear in your organization what the service elements are?
- Does every team member know what they are?
- Are your training systems connected to them?
- Do you have measures connected to them?
- Do you celebrate best practices?