If your company is looking to strengthen its brand, consider including the customer experience as a key component of your strategy. The customer experience matters, because brands are built on promises made real.
Consciously or subconsciously, your customers compare what your company logos and slogans are saying to what you’re actually doing. If you consistently make good on the promises you make, your brand grows stronger over time.
This type of comparison is truer today than ever, given how easy it is for customers to share their experiences with your brand, and the fact that they trust each other more than they trust your advertising.
In a recent report, I prepared for a group of clients; I compared how likely customers would be to recommend our clients to someone else (as measured by the Net Promoter Score*, NPS) this year compared to a year ago. NPS is a useful indicator of a company’s brand in action.
Several clients showed significant year-over-year improvement, and several went the other way. I selected the top two and the bottom two performers and looked at responses to other questions on the surveys we conducted to see why customers were more or less likely to recommend our clients. Here are the key findings from that exercise:
- Customer sentiment can shift, quickly. The top two performing clients had an average NPS improvement of 16 points from 2015 to 2016 while the bottom two performing clients had an average decline of 10 points. These are significant swings in a one year period.
- Consistency, consistency, consistency. While the scores on the other questions asked were higher for the top performing dealer were higher in most all cases, what was most noteworthy for the higher performing dealer was the consistency. The standard deviation on the question responses was much lower for the top performing dealers than was the case for the dealers with an NPS decline. The key message is consistency does matter. When customers know what to expect, they reward you with great loyalty.
- Commitment and communication. The top performing clients performed especially well on what I call “commitment and communication” questions. These are questions such as:
- Ease of contact and placing an order
- Repair completed when promised
- Invoice matched expectations
- Knowledgeable and properly equipped employees
Many companies make a brand promise. Some are better at making it real than others. These top performing clients are making their brand promise real and tangible. Customers experience it and recognize it by the scores they give. They experience that brand promise most every time they come in contact with these top performing clients.
To strengthen your brand over time, consider investing as much or more effort on improving the quality of your customer experience as you do on your company’s logos and advertising messages. Customers will reward you for making your promises real.
Net Promoter, Net Promoter Score, and NPS are registered trademarks of Bain & Company, Inc., Satmetrix Systems, Inc., and Fred Reichheld.