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Consistency of thought, purpose and action are key to successful customer engagement

By August 23, 2017 No Comments

Maybe you wouldn’t think of Bruce Springsteen as the go-to guy for customer experience wisdom, but here’s something he once said: “Sustaining an audience is hard; it demands consistency of thought, of purpose and of action over a long period.”

Springsteen’s an artist, of course, but he’s also at the heart of a multi-national business that depends on turnover, profit, customer loyalty and longevity – not so very different to, say, MacDonald’s or Starbucks. Whether you love or hate them, when you visit these global businesses, anywhere in the world, you can at least be sure of a consistent experience – one that has been refined over many years and which invariably meets your expectations. Just like a Springsteen show.

Better the devil you know…

Other things being equal, people like familiarity. Consistency is important because it creates familiarity and that leads to trust, another key component in long-term customer relationship. Assuming the customer deliverable meets expectations, consistency will keep customers coming back – but note that assumption. Customers tend to be quick to anger but slow to forgive, and consistency is only celebrated if the product or service meets expectations. Nothing disappoints customers more than a service provider back-pedalling out of a misleading brand promise.

So where do digital service providers need to focus to deliver consistency in customer experience? We suggest they think about:

  • Brand promises…
    • Across customer journeys…
      • Generating positive emotions…
        • Through consistent communications

‘Brand promises’ might feel like marketing jargon, but they are vital for the business. Promises are effectively a contract with the customer which, again, create a sense of trust and commitment – but they must be adhered to, all the way through the customer journey.

Journey consistency is essential too. It means that customers always get what was promised throughout their lifetime with the business, always feeling that they are dealing with the same organisation and that the organisation has a complete and consistent view of them. The more consistent the experience, the more trust is created – while every failure only creates negative emotions (and we know how ready customers are to share negative experiences with their peers).

Finally, communications have to be consistent. Customers should feel like they’re dealing with one organisation, one brand, regardless of the channels through which they interact. Clarity, timeliness and contextual appropriateness of communications are vital.

Consistency demands rigorous and continuous improvement of the processes, systems and guidelines that are put in place to serve both the business and the customer. And having established rational, logical and consistent processes and policies, you need a robust monitoring system that will warn of deviation – ideally before the customer does!

Back to Bruce: consistency of thought, purpose and action are key to successful customer engagement and the profits and loyalty which flow from that. And he should know – he’s the Boss!

To learn more about the importance of consistency to the customer experience, download our new Digital Engagement Playbook here