Delivering consistent customer experiences across channels and touchpoints in a highly fluent, omnichannel environment starts with accurate and reliable measurements of actual, implied, and perceived consistency.
Back in 2000, 9 out of 10 customers used one or two touchpoints to engage with companies. Today, 7 out of 10 customers use more than three touchpoints, and 2 out of 10 customers use five or six touchpoints. As customers, clients, partners, and suppliers interact with your company time and again, consistency has emerged as a mission-critical factor for customer satisfaction and, ultimately, loyalty. 90% of customers expect consistent interactions across channels and 87% of customers think brands need to put more effort into providing a consistent experience. To respond, companies must find ways to accurately measure the consistency of the experiences they currently deliver and the underlying factors that influence them. Below, I expand on three different methods experience designers have at their disposal to tackle this challenge, besides their key strengths and weaknesses.
Methods to Tackle Customer Experience Consistency
Measuring Actual Consistency:
Simply, actual consistency analysis aims to find the optimum balance between team members following Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) and, on the other end, going “beyond and above” in their efforts to attract, engage and serve customers. One way to measure actual consistency is to present team members with process maps that expand on the tasks they complete during specific interactions or transactions with customers and ask them to which extent they must deviate from said processes to effectively and efficiently fulfill customer inquiries of similar scope. High deviation scores could suggest that the current experience delivery system does not have enough “built-in flexibility”, forcing team members to take matters into their own hands when it comes to pleasing customers. Actual consistency analysis represents an inside-out view of consistency.
- Strength: A clear-cut way to assess the flexibility or rigidity of your experience delivery system. In most cases, feedback will point to specific improvements.
- Weakness: It is a business-centric view of consistency, meaning that the method assesses consistency from the inside-out, not based on customer feedback.
Measuring Implied Consistency:
Implied consistency analysis derives the extent to which customers are satisfied. This satisfaction is in terms of how consistent their interactions are with your company by tracking the standard deviation of satisfaction scores in customer surveys. This method assumes that a high standard deviation in satisfaction scores among your customers signals your company does not deliver consistent digital customer experiences. When customer satisfaction scores are generally low or high (in both cases, the standard deviation would be low), one could claim that services are consistently weak or consistently strong. But when satisfaction scores highly fluctuate, one could claim that the business is not delivering value consistently.
- Strength: Tracking standard deviation scores in customer surveys is easy and fast, especially for companies with VOC programs in place.
- Weakness: Fluctuation in customer satisfaction scores could be the result of factors beyond consistency, which is hard to single out as the root cause.
Measuring Perceived Consistency:
Perceived consistency analysis assesses whether services of similar nature delivered in multiple instances are perceived by your customers to be of the same quality. A simple example is when the same customer contacts your customer support department multiple times throughout his or her engagement. Companies identify those customers and ask them to which extent their experience during these interactions was of the same or similar quality. Again, when answers suggest big differences in perceived quality, your experience delivery system does not deliver value consistently and you need to take a second look.
- Strength: Results stem from direct and clear customer feedback, making this a truly customer-centric approach.
- Weakness: Customers who have had multiple inquiries of similar scope throughout their engagement with your company do not recall the required details.
Delivering consistent digital customer experiences across channels and touchpoints in a highly fluent, omnichannel environment starts with accurate and reliable measurements of actual, implied, and perceived consistency. Experience designers have more than one method at their disposal, but the strengths and weaknesses of each method must be carefully considered before proceeding.
Learn about our digital transformation services and related content.