Consistency in customer service is one of those things that is just as basic as it is hard to achieve. For one thing, because every detail matters. For another, because consistency doesn't stand alone. It depends on the overall quality of service, on the right use of technology, on your data infrastructure, on your agents. It all melds into one big picture when your customer engages you’re your customer service. It's not said for nothing that the three C's of customer experience (CX) are consistency, consistency, and consistency.
The Importance of Consistency in Customer Service
What does consistent customer service mean?
Imagine going to the same restaurant with your friends for years. Once a month on Friday you meet there, enjoy good food and update each other about your lives. There's laughter, jokes - the staff knows you as regular customers and treats you accordingly. Then - one Friday - you arrive at the restaurant and the waiter has changed. Within the first few minutes, you are asked to be quiet. The waiter is grumpy and doesn't get involved in your jokes. The food is still good, you're here with the same people - but the vibe is gone. Next week you'll go to a different place. Just because of one detail. That's consistency in a nutshell. One negative detail - and all the years of work was for nothing.
Consistency in customer service is the ability to help your customers with the same level of expertise across all your channels – not once in a while, but every time. It's meeting expectations and performing as one. As harsh as it sounds: consistency means that your customer service is only as good as the worst experience your customer has with it.
Why is consistent customer service important?
The number of customer touchpoints is increasing - and with it the difficulty of acting consistently. Since 95% of all customers use three or more channels in a single service session, each one can either delight - or disappoint them. And the impact of an inconsistent service experience should not be underestimated, with 60% of customers indicating a willingness to churn after inconsistent experiences.
In a saturated, high-churn market like telecommunications, customer relationships are fragile. It’s much easier to lose a customer than it is to earn their loyalty over a longer period with multiple interactions. But that's exactly what makes it worthwhile. A consistent customer experience across multiple touchpoints increases customer satisfaction, trust, and loyalty in the long term.
How do you provide consistent customer service?
If we want to deliver consistency across all channels, we need a common data foundation. That includes data integration: As much clean data as possible – available everywhere. It includes service content that scales on your channels, to prevent treating problems differently at different customer touchpoints. And it includes making smart, data-driven technologies available on every frontend. But if we go one level up, consistency also means knowing your customers' expectations towards your channels. Accordingly, the customer journey must be modeled – with the fitting customer communication for each channel.
You notice - consistency is a mix of standardization and individuality. After all, customers can't expect to always be served by the same staff in a restaurant. But they can very well expect to be always treated in a friendly and competent manner. In practice, this mix can be achieved through an approach we call "true omnichannel". This is explained in more detail in our whitepaper.
Lastly: Consistency must on no account be considered in isolation from quality. Both aspects are inextricably linked. And there are many ways to improve your service quality while applying it consistently across all your channels. For example, with Next Best Actions via Machine Learning. If you're more interested in concrete implementation possibilities, I'd be happy to refer you again to our whitepaper.