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Customer Service Tool: Consistency

great-customer-serviceConsistency Isn’t Part-Time

It’s the same every time, never changing. Day in and day out, it’s always the same.  Sound boring?  It’s not when it comes to consistency in delivering customer service – especially if it’s good customer service.  It should always be the same.  The customer should be able to count on it,

Customer loyalty is based on this concept. If you want to build intense customer loyalty, in addition to all of the customer service you deliver, you must also be predictably consistent.

Brand loyalty depends on three interrelated quality service experiences:

  • Brand Loyalty Prerequisite Number One – Product Quality: First and foremost, the product or service has to work.  That’s really no surprise.  If the quality isn’t there, you’re in trouble.
  • Brand Loyalty Prerequisite Number Two – Customer Service: This is about how well you deliver the product or service you sell.  It doesn’t have to be an over-the-top WOW experience. It just needs to be above average – even just a little above average.
  • Brand Loyalty Prerequisite Number Three – Consistency: The customer has to have confidence that one and two will happen.  In other words, there has to be consistency.  Confidence comes when the customer knows what to expect, and gets it every time.  Their experience becomes predictable.

All three of these are interrelated.  No matter how good the customer service you provide, if what you sell doesn’t do what it’s supposed to do, the customer will eventually find another place to do business.  And, if the product is great, but the service is lousy, then the customer will eventually find a place that makes them feel better about their purchase.  If there is inconsistency in product quality or customer service, the customer loses confidence because they don’t know what to expect.

Consistency doesn’t mean you never have a problem.  It means your customers can count on you if there ever is a problem.  The best companies aren’t perfect.  They make mistakes.  But they are excellent on their recovery.

The bottom line is that inconsistency, mismanaged, causes a lack of confidence.  It’s a loyalty killer.  The opposite however, is a brand booster.

There was an online review from a customer that did business at an Ace Hardware store in Washington, DC.  What the customer wrote sums up exactly what you want your customers to say about you:

“I want to know how these guys hire their staff.  I’ve been going there for three years, and every single time I’ve been in – about three dozen times – I’ve received excellent customer service.”

Consistency isn’t part time.  It’s all-of-the-time.  If you want to create customer loyalty you must… Amaze Every Customer Every Time.

NOTE: This article is based on one of the tactics from Shep Hyken’s upcoming book Amaze Every Customer Every Time: 52 Tools for Delivering the Most Amazing Customer Service on the Planet, which appears in stores everywhere in September 2013. Preorder the book and get valuable extras at www.AmazeEveryCustomer.com.

Shep Hyken is a customer service expert, professional speaker and New York Times  bestselling business author. For information contact (314)692-2200 or www.hyken.com. For information on The  Customer  Focus™ customer service training programs go to http://www.thecustomerfocus.com. Follow on Twitter: @Hyken
(Copyright ©MMXII, Shep Hyken)

 
  1. Consistency is underrated when it comes to the customer experience. I’ve come across a website called http://www.hellopeter.com which puts me in touch with my suppliers by allowing me to write reports about them, of which a copy gets sent to them AND they have the opportunity to reply to me.

  2. I’ve been once a tech/customer support and its been fun representing your brand! Consistency is always a great feat when representing your brand. Awesome article about branding. 🙂

  3. “Consistency doesn’t mean you never have a problem. It means your customers can count on you if there ever is a problem.”

    It also means they can count on you to get to the root cause of the problem. Was it a one-time fluke or something that is likely to happen again? Is it something you can control and plan for or was it completely out of the blue?

    • Good comment Dan. The key words you used are… “the can count on you.” If the customer has the confidence to count on you, then you are delivering a consistent customer experience. Thanks for writing in.

  4. Consistency is so important – and the experience (and information) customers receive has to be consistent across every channel. Very few things frustrate consumers more than being given different answers to the same question on the web, phone and in store channels. Some companies excel in one channel, but fail spectacularly in others as our own Eptica Multichannel research study found. Businesses that offered a great online experience often then failed to answer the same questions when sent by email – delivering an inconsistent experience that will lose loyalty. More on the research in our blog at http://eptica.wordpress.com/page/2/?s=Eptica+Multichannel+2012

  5. Brilliant article Shep! Consistency is something I have been playing about with for a while – the consistency of service as you have mentioned here and, vitally I think, the consistency of leadership.

    I think one of the biggest barriers to companies really breaking through and delivering great customer experiences is leadership inconsistency – flip-flopping between efficiency and service, over-reacting to small bumps in the road instead of letting them be learning experiences and failing to trust the people they have recruited.

    A really interesting behaviour for a leader and their organisation.

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