Desiree Lepelaar, June 08, 2017
These days a lot of people tell us that consistency in customer experience is incredibly important. A consistent experience is not just something a single customer has every time he or she comes back to your business. It is the consistency in experiences of all who pay a visit. Recommended by others or not. It sounds like a logical thing, right? But in many businesses it still doesn’t happen. So what is consistency in experience? And why is giving a consistent experience so important?
Why do I share my thoughts on this topic? Just because I had some experiences with it myself. Last week I had not just one, but a few of those inconsistent experiences. All in one day! I went out to find and purchase a new kitchen. Since this is not just something you pick up on your way to work, I did some online research. But most of all, I took advice from others who had a great experience at a couple of places.
What actually happened was fascinating…and not in a good way. The places that others had highly recommended to me did not live up to my expectations. In fact, my experience was the total opposite of what others had shared with me. At one of the places I visited, I was totally ignored. Even though there were people available to help me. Shocking! At another place, when finally someone came to say hello, they actually explained that they thought I was just browsing and not a serious customer, as I was there by myself. The experience others had and had based their recommendations, were nothing like what I experienced.
These places all made the same mistake. Their customer experience is not consistent at all. So what do you have to do to make them consistent?
Any person walking through the door or contacting you expects a great experience. Whether it is a returning customer or a new one. Some of those new customers have expectations shaped by others recommending your business. They already know what they can expect of you; so you have to live up to, or rather exceed that expectation. In order to do so, your delivery needs to be consistent, across your whole team. This requires guidance, monitoring, recognition where possible, adjustment(s) where needed, and making sure the experience delivery is sustainable. Not an easy task, but it will result into more loyal fans talking positively about your brand if you do.
Online experience is just as important as the offline experience you have (face to face) with a customer or guest. A visitor of your website is just as much experiencing your brand as a customer you meet in person. Think of user friendliness and accessibility of the website and the vibe you get browsing through the page or response times to queries. Also the person browsing online could eventually come to your business in person. This experience has to match the online experience they had visiting your page.
As I already said, it is not an easy task to create those consistent experiences, but there is no question that they are extremely important. How and where to start? Read all about the importance and how to create those memorable experiences in the book Reverse Journey by Andre Wiringa. The Reverse approach is a perfect starting point for shaping your interactions with the customer (both on-line and off-line), which optimally contributes to memorable experiences. In turn, this will lead to a network of active ambassadors and fans raving about you/your brand!