Consistent experiences that are easy and effortless is what it takes to get loyal customers
While every business and industry is different, consistent experiences at all locations is key to create loyal customers. The Tempkin Group has a useful model which measures consistent experiences along three dimensions:
- Success: To what extent is the customer able to accomplish what he or she wanted to do?
- Effort: How much energy does the customer have to put forth?
- Emotion: How does the customer feel about the experience?
When you deliver successfully on all three of these dimensions, the result is a positively memorable experience, which the customer will likely want to share with others.
Here’s an Example of all Three Components for Consistent Experiences
An excellent example of this type of customer experience grand slam is an experience I had with Enterprise Rent-A-Car when traveling with my wife to Miami.
- Success: The car was still there waiting for us even though our flight wasn’t on time.
- Effort: The employee was friendly and explained the main controls of the car.
- Emotion: When we arrived to pick up the car, the Enterprise representative took the time to first introduce himself to us, a courtesy often overlooked. And when we returned the car, we pointed out to a different representative some minor damage that we thought we might have done to the hood. He took the time to review pictures of the car and noted that the damage was there when we picked up the car, but it was not clearly noted. His actions exceeded our expectations. He went out of his way to make sure we were fairly treated. In return, we became loyal customers.
Positive customer experiences, like the example above, are powerful in their own right. However, we have found that they are most powerful when delivered consistently over time.
Customers Want Consistent Experiences!
Think about it; the world we live in is an uncertain place. Will all the equipment work for the big presentation for the board? If I take my car in for repairs, will it be done correctly, on time, and at the amount promised? Will I get home in time to see our child’s performance?
It is an uncertain world, and those companies that reduce uncertainty by being consistent are, and will be, the winners now and in the future! Let me illustrate this with a personal story. I travel a good deal in my work. There is little I can do to improve all aspects of travel. But there are some things I can control like the hotel the rental car.
The importance of consistency
My wife and I were staying in New York City at a Hilton Garden Inn. While in New York, we are treated much the same way as in any other Hilton Garden Inn. Accordingly, we had friendly and accommodating staff, a clean room, and good food. Each evening, it was like returning to a quiet and peaceful retreat.
These are only two examples. Moreover, I tend to have positively memorable, worry-free experiences whenever I deal with these two companies. These examples illustrate one of the things customers want in service—consistency. First, removing uncertainty makes it easier to make a choice. If a customer purchases construction equipment, or a power generator, they want someone they can count on for repairs and service.
Our research supports the importance of consistent service
We use the Net Promoter Score (NPS)[i] as a critical measure of the service experience. (NPS is a question that asks the customer about their willingness to refer on a 1 to 10 scale.)
- A Promoter = 9 or 10
- A Passive = 7 or 8
- A Detractor = 6 or less
To get the NPS score, subtract the % of Passive customers from the % of Promoter customers.
We analyzed individual customer responses to this question. (We typically interview a customer twice yearly). Clients with a higher NPS also had more promoters. The top-performing clients were able to retain 87% of their customers as Promoters as compared to 75% for all clients.
Accordingly, for a higher NPS score, you must have more Promoter customers. Promoters are receiving the service they expected. In other words, they could depend on excellent services.
Great Experiences Matter
There several reasons, but let’s focus on one. Customers want to share their experiences, good and bad, with others. How else do you explain the growth Trip Advisor, Urban Spoon, and Yelp?
An annual American Express research study supports this theory. Respondents were asked how often they shared a good experience. As you can see, over 90% of respondents sometimes or all the time shared positive experiences.
A similar number of respondents would talk about a negative experience. However, would not expect people to talk as much about a positive experience.
Therefore, customers want to share their experiences, good and bad. Above all, they want to share the good ones because they are reflecting that primal motive of cooperation. That is to say, they would let others learn for themselves.
We are more of a cooperative species than a competitive one
The implications for service providers not providing consistent experiences include:
- They will share their service experiences, good and bad. (A point highlighted earlier from our research and the American Express research).
- Creating a two-way partnership with customers is a sound strategy.
- Customers are building communities of followers all the time. Social media tools and the internet are great facilitators. If you do not believe me, go to the YouTube story about the broken guitar.
What Do Customers Want from Their Service Experience?
To summarize, customers want consistent experiences that are easy and effortless. Customers will talk about service, good and bad. New technologies make sharing about service experiences even more powerful.
[i] Net Promoter, NPS, and the NPS-related emoticons are registered service marks, and Net Promoter Score and Net Promoter System are service marks, of Bain & Company, Inc., Satmetrix Systems, Inc., and Fred Reichheld