Consistency. It’s rarely a word that gets our clients excited. They usually think that creating remarkable customer experiences takes something more dramatic. Delivering a consistent customer experience sounds too simple, common sense even. But as we know, common sense is rarely common practice.
“The 3 C’s of customer satisfaction: consistency, consistency, consistency”
McKinsey research backs this up. They proved that the cumulative experience is more important than individual highs and lows. This means delivering consistent experiences across the whole customer journey. That’s harder than it sounds!
We see this connection across our dashboards. While it’s tempting to dismiss emotive feedback as the “random rants of the lunatic fringe”, it’s rarely the case. Rants and raves occur when experiences don’t meet expectations. In other words, when the experience is not consistent with what they normally receive.
Understanding the customer journey
What do we mean by customer journey? Put simply, it’s all the steps that the customer (or potential customer) takes to achieve their desired result. A customer journey could be going from a desire to get fit through to regularly attending a gym. Within this journey are a series of stages, such as going to the gym on any given day. Finally, there are the individual steps such as participating in a class.
Great experiences start with mapping out the customer journey from the customer’s perspective. This is an ‘outside-in’ view of the customer’s needs and expectations, and what they are trying to achieve. The customers’ journey will span many teams, departments and processes. It’s the need to create organisation-wide alignment that makes consistency hard to achieve.
In contrast, designing the customer journey from an internal perspective leads to inconsistent experiences. Customer interactions are managed within the context of individual responsibilities, processes and silos. Staff lack a common frame of reference. As a result they have different priorities and views about what is required.
Get started with consistent customer experiences
1 – Map your customers’ journeys from their perspective
Chose a target customer group, and then walk through each step of their journey. What do they do, why do they do it and how good is their experience? Use your existing customer feedback to guide you. Is it simple or complicated? Is it smooth or frustrating?
2 – Get everyone on the same page
Many organisations are still relying on the customer insights inside people’s heads. While experienced staff are valuable, their knowledge isn’t accessible by anyone else.
To deliver consistent experiences you must have everyone on the same page. Your staff need a shared understanding of:
– the customer’s needs and expectations
– the experience you want to deliver to them
3 – Manage the experience across the whole customer journey
How do you track customer experience? Do you wait for customer complaints? Send out a one-off/annual survey? This is no longer enough. Customer’s expect you to be listening and responding to their evolving needs. Not just making their issues go away, but improving the experience for everyone. Manging the customer experience requires:
– keeping your finger on the pulse
– being able to make fast decisions
– having processes that turn decisions into action
– monitoring the impact of the actions