In my last post, I shared a few stories about my first experiences. Not only do I love to try new places for the first time, learn new subjects, challenge myself with activities like the Tough Mudder - it is great to experience new products and services.
As a business leader, you are the champion for a great customer experience!
Whether your first interaction with a customer is face-to-face, through technology, or as a reference - it is your first and best opportunity to connect. Once you connect, you are positioned to convert them as a new customer, and finally keep providing them a great experience - just like you did the first time!
In my experience as a consumer and customer service operations leader, consistency is a key factor to consider when you create your business strategy, develop processes, and choose technologies. Here is a story that truly opened my eyes to the importance of consistency.
The Story of Consistency
Starts with a great first experience. To Connect, Convert,
It all started with the first visit and a hand-written thank you note. I was hooked as a loyal customer for 6+ years until I moved from Chicago to NYC. Rashida is not only an influential female entrepreneur that I look up to, she is a friend. We both have a passion for customer experience and would often share business stories - even if beauty and hosted VoIP are different industries, human behavior and requirements are the same.
And Keep Your Customers!
There was something about walking into her studio that was refreshing. The entire experience was so effortless. As a subscription service, there was no hassle with payment upon arrival. While you waited; you sat in comfortable sofa and chairs, enjoyed your favorite mini soda, a variety of candy options, and movies with Audrey Hepburn to match the posters of the icon on the walls.
One day, she shared her perspective of consistency in customer experience with me. We subconsciously expect to receive consistent experiences in all of our interactions. As she explained it to me, I easily connected the dots of consistency in my visits with her over the years. One simple example was how she mixed the same 10 songs into the music playlists.
It can be the littlest detail like your hair dresser not using a familiar product or tool with no explanation. While it may not stop you from a return visit, it will likely leave a void as if something is missing. Ever since this conversation with Rashida, I always notice the impact of consistency as a consumer and business leader. I am so excited that Rashida is sharing her expertise to help others build brand identity strategy.
In the journey to connect, convert, and keep loyal customers - here are three key areas of consistency to consider. Establish initial trust during the first interaction and continue to provide the same across all channels, to each customer, and through the entire journey.
Across All Communication Channels
Customers want a choice in how they connect with your business. Be consistent in your communications across all channels. If you have different departments managing social media feeds than handling email and phone calls, using the same knowledge base to provide responses to customers will help them be consistent. Invest in tools to keep those teams aware of different channel interactions. Salesforce is just one option. Don’t blow a great first impression from the amazing store personality with lack of response via email or Twitter.
When Dealing With Different Customers
Customers share stories about their experiences, especially over social media. With so many choices available, recommendations from trusted sources are always welcome as a consumer - and for your business. Influencers… Document best practices for consistent interaction when customers deal with different roles across the organization. No one wants to hear praises about an experience with an amazing salesperson only to be shattered by a complete disaster with a different one. Next thing you know, there is a heated argument between best friends over a bad recommendation.
For Each Interaction
Consistency during each interaction with a customer can impacts his/her loyalty. Imagine that you have an effortless experience the first few times you visit a new store - you are greeted with a smile, offered the beverage of your choice (which should be consistent), and enjoy the familiar music. As you learn to expect the same treatment over time, of course you are surprised if you enter the store and feel as if you are in a different world! What happened? Is there new management? You decide to give them the benefit of the doubt - it must have been an off day… While the tolerance for variations in customer experience will vary, don’t test the waters when you have the power to manage the consistency.
What are your thoughts on consistency as a customer? How do you handle consistency with customers at your business?
The Pukka Panda