Are You Providing Consistency in the Customer Experience?
Everybody has had the experience once: you eat at a new restaurant and find it’s great. You return a second time, with friends, only to have a poor experience: bad food, bad service and long waits. You apologize to your guests: “Last time, it was great. Honestly.”
This also happens with customer support. You may call in once and have a great experience – a short wait, a terrific and knowledgeable agent, and resolution that exceeds your expectations. Another time, maybe you won’t get so lucky, and you’ll wait a long time for a rude and incompetent agent. While it’s call center management’s responsibility to ensure an excellent customer experience, it can’t just happen once. It has to be consistently excellent.
Consistency, however, is about more than ensuring a good experience each time the customer calls. It’s also about ensuring a consistently good, responsive and productive experience across every channel a customer might use, whether it’s telephone, mobile app, social media, chat or email. Delivering consistent messages across various platforms is the key to customer satisfaction.
This omnichannel consistency can be particularly challenging for small businesses that aren’t working off of huge, omnichannel customer support platforms. It helps to establish your goals for each channel in advance, according to a recent article by Julie Chomiak writing for Business2Community.
“While each channel, from your Web site to blog to social media to email, has its own best practices, there are inherent pieces of your mission statement that must be present in each channel,” she wrote. “The exact wording may be slightly different, but the underlying message is consistent and unwavering. Continually deliver your unique selling proposition to your audience to reinforce what your business is all about.”
Different channels might have different marks that must be hit for excellence. How long should the wait be on the telephone? How long should it take to respond by social media? Are you getting a lot of confused responses to your emails? These are all questions to ask to establish excellence in each channel. Once you’ve established the best practices, make sure you communicate your organization’s practices clearly to the customer…and then be sure to meet them.
“Customer experience is all about setting expectations and proactively communicating with consumers,” wrote Chomiak. “To successfully implement a multichannel customer experience, being transparent with your customers is of the utmost importance. Clearing stating your customer service hours and designated ways to contact your business, such as email addresses and phone numbers, on each platform establish customer expectations.”
Ensure that when you do respond, it’s in a personalized way that clearly demonstrates you have heard (or read) the problem and established a personalized answer that takes care of the customer’s issue. (Many customers complain that organizations don’t listen to their problems accurately.) If you do make a mistake, own up to it immediately and make amends.
“Guaranteeing the same experience across all your channels is a foundational component for establishing loyal customers and small business growth,” wrote Chomiak.
Edited by Alicia Young