Is consistency the key to trust and loyalty in customers?

A satisfied customer is always a top priority and a goal for every company and brand. Continuously providing the highest customer satisfaction requires many steps, consistency being one of the most important. Contrary to popular belief, where individual interactions are said to be more valuable in overall satisfaction, this may have shifted through the sheer number of touchpoints customers are now exposed to, for example through an increase of AI-supported technologies in a customer contact setting.

With many channels now potentially being involved in an interaction with a single customer, this leaves a lot of potential for inconsistency in feedback, support or service.

This is not only important in a traditional retail setting, but also in professional services or hospitality amongst others, and is equally relevant for B2C as well as B2B interactions. While retailers might be affected in a more direct way through immediate feedback or a personal (human) interaction, providing a seamless consistency in their experience is equally important for all markets and service providers.

The challenge with consistency is often the time frame. While a customer can be impressed and surprised with a positive experience, creating consistency requires multiple interactions, through multiple touchpoints.

The variety in the kind and length of interaction is another challenge in offering a consistent experience. A customer might have a very short and brief initial experience, for example when purchasing a flight ticket, possibly online, which is seamless. This might lead to a much longer interaction when the need arises for a rebooking, possibly by phone. The same scenario could happen in reverse. Where the initial contact is the more detailed one, for example through a consultation for a new phone and contract and the follow-up contact might be a short one, in order to set up the phone. Offering the same consistent experience in all these settings and interactions can be difficult, but when successful measures are implemented, this can have a huge impact on customer’s overall satisfaction.

There are many ways to implement or improve consistency, taking various factors into account, like company size, market, products, etc., for example:

  • AI can support a consistent experience through a standardized response in customers first touchpoints, e.g. through an automated chatbot integration in a customer service setting.
  • Personnel that is trained according to company guidelines and policies can implement uniform and standardized procedures to deal with repetitive or common issues.
  • Giving employees authority to make decisions, for example based on the value of the customers purchase independently and on the spot, can improve the experience for customers – consistently hassle free and quick through every (future or additional) interaction.

Remember the road to loyal customers must be a road well-travelled: Consistency plays a role in how you act (communicate and deliver your message) and how you react (fulfill your message) in a customer setting over an extended period and multiple touchpoints. Different departments might have different priorities or agendas (e.g. marketing, sales, customer service, etc.), but offering your customers a consistent experience means a clear set of policies, procedures and communication has to be in place and lived by all employees equally.

Offering your customers a consistent experience, not only increases loyalty and subsequently builds an emotional bond and trust in your message. It allows something much more important to emerge: it shows customers that you care – about their experiences but also about your message, your profile, your brand and your unique style. Taking pride in what you offer (and being consistent with your message) will pay off.

Offering an equally amazing experience, one interaction after another, also means customers will feel close to your brand or can identify themselves with your message better – and who doesn’t want another fan not simply a buyer?

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