Top Four Tips to Build Powerful and Consistent Customer Experiences
Powerful and Consistent Customer Experiences matter for one simple reason—consistency helps you build trust with your customers. When your customers trust you, they buy more from you. Using our 30+ years of customer feedback data, we have developed four simple tips to help you improve the consistency of your CX program. Does consistency matter in creating better customer experiences? The answer is yes. It matters in many different areas, including music, as the Bruce Springsteen quote below illustrates.
Consistent Customer Experiences vs. Inconsistent
Let’s start with a story about the power of inconsistency. I worked on a consulting project with a trucking company focused on a new marketing program offering faster delivery times from one major city to another (e.g., Atlanta, GA to New York was a few days quicker) with a slight price premium. The marketing team thought this would give them a leg up on the competition. After several months of hard marketing, they had only a few customers to try the service, and the results were disappointing.
As part of a customer research project, I interviewed some customers who tried out the new service. Those that tried said they would not use it again, which raised my curiosity. When I probed for why several customers gave remarkably similar answers:
- I could not count on the service.
- Some days it arrived as promised, but on too many occasions, it was later than planned.
- I just went back to the regular service.
- If they told me it would take four days to get a shipment from Atlanta to New York, it arrived as promised more than 95% of the time.
- I need to trust that the shipment will get there when planned.
- The company’s new program failed because they simply didn’t provide consistent delivery times.
As another example of the power of consistency, think about how you typically train a dog. My dog knows that when she goes outside, she often receives a dog biscuit and an ear scratch when she comes back in. Now, she goes out quite frequently to hopefully get a reward. She trusts that she will receive a treat, which most often happens. In this example, although I am not sure who trained whom!
The Power of Consistency
When customers interact with your company, they also want consistency. Every time they interact with your company, be it on the web, over the phone, or in person, they look for consistency. When there is an inconsistency in how the phone is answered, the appearance of a facility, the appearance of a service truck or technician, these are inconsistencies customers remember. If they don’t experience more inconsistency, it is ignored. If more inconsistency appears, it just adds to the customer’s databank of experiences and, ultimately, reduces trust in the supplier.
Does consistency impact how customers view a provider? The short answer is Yes!
To see for yourself, click on this link and view a previous blog. In the chart in the blog, I compare the standard deviation of selected question responses for higher-performing (NPS®) versus lower-performing clients. Notice how much more consistent (lower standard deviation) the responses for those higher-performing clients.
Four Tips for Consistent Customer Experiences
Being more consistent helps establish that trusting relationship that any customers need, especially b-to-b customers. Consistency from one experience to the next keeps the doubt away and causes customers to come back. They know they can count on you!
Step back from your company. Think about the consistency you provide your customers. A few things to consider:
- Website: Does your website display consistent messages?
- Contact: When customers or prospects contact you by phone or email, is there a consistent approach at these touchpoints?
- Facilities: Does the physical appearance of your facilities denote consistency? (Yes, physical appearance matters. The latest and greatest facilities are not always needed, but poorly maintained facilities can create doubt about consistency?)
- Technicians: If your company has technicians traveling to the customers’ sites, do they provide a consistent image (e.g., vehicles, technician appearance)? From our research, we know that field impressions weigh a lot on customers’ views.
Think about the importance of consistent customer experiences. Consistency builds trust. Increased trust means more loyal and more profitable customers!
Are you ready to give customers what they want from you? This is the third installment of our four-part series that focuses on this question. Throughout the series, we will explore the importance of the following topics:
- Make CX Easy: Is it easy to do business with your company?
- Effective CX Communication: Are you talking to your customers?
- Consistent CX: Top Four Tips to Build Powerful and Consistent Customer Experiences
- CX and Price: When does price really become a differentiator? (Coming in June)
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