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May 18, 2022
Meticulously curated Instagram galleries, catchy taglines, expensive advertising, and even blog posts like the one you’re reading now—it takes a significant investment (of money and effort) to establish a memorable brand presence. But how do you maintain that brand image for customers in the long run, and what’s the payoff?
In today’s market, consumers are barraged with options. The success of your brand image does not solely rely on the marketing department but is shaped every day by the execution of consistent customer experiences (CX). As your brand grows both physically and digitally, consistent CX can become increasingly challenging to sustain, but it is very important to customer loyalty.
The core idea of a consistent customer experience is that with every experience a customer knows what to expect across all channels, all touch points, every time they interact with the brand. This means:
People thrive on habits and predictability, so providing a consistent experience across interactions earns you customer loyalty and builds your brand reputation with each visit.
See how we can help more than 500 brands provide more consistent customer experiences with a demo
Every experience a customer has with your brand is an opportunity to deliver on a brand promise and a commitment for the experience they should expect to have on their next interaction. The simple strategy of being sure your customer knows what to expect and then delivering on that expectation helps reinforce an overall level of satisfaction as they keep coming back.
So where do you start? Luckily, many of your customers are happy to provide feedback when and where their experience does not cut the mustard. With focused and timely action, you can help these locations close the gap—keeping your brand image and return interactions intact.
Let’s look at ways you can strengthen your brand image by providing a consistent customer experience.
One issue with broad CX monitoring programs is they tend to look at data in the aggregate. Problem is, when you look at a mass of data in a group, you lose the detail of individual experiences. After all, if one customer experience scores a 100 and another scores a 0, your average score will be 50, but looking at that average gives no insight into the two very different experiences that got you there.
Start by quantifying your CX spread. What is the range of experiences your locations are delivering? A unit range analysis makes it easy to quickly identify this number. The chart below illustrates the range of Overall Satisfaction scores by unit. By removing the outliers, this brand can see the middle 95% of restaurants have an Overall Satisfaction variance of 35 ppts.
So now you have a number—what’s next? Consider these questions:
Consistency exercises such as these helped a quick-service restaurant (QSR) client identify the source of high reported problem rates. The question arose when an insight revealed the company’s problem occurrence rate was higher than the industry average. However, upon a closer look, the brand recognized the issue was not systemic—the problems were driven by a small group of underperforming franchise locations that had lost engagement with their CX program and lost focus on the customer experience.
The QSR brand’s leadership team launched a creative competition among operators to lessen the frequency of problems happening at their restaurants. As a result, the franchise locations in question improved their CX scores by 4 ppts, and locations that reduced problems experienced a positive impact on the bottom line.
If a competition isn’t your style, perform a deep dive on locations contributing to your inconsistent CX. Consider:
Understanding your CX opportunities at the location level allows you to target your improvement strategy and budget to those who need it most.
How consumers prefer to interact with restaurants and retailers is rapidly evolving. As your brand works to meet the demand to accommodate increasingly fragmented interaction preferences through various channels, how can you possibly deliver a consistently satisfying CX?
The first step to maintaining a consistent customer experience is awareness. As your brand evolves, it will be key to make sure you are measuring all of these touchpoints so you can identify experiences that may not measure up to your brand image.
For instance, a UK retailer found this was the case when analyzing their e-commerce platform. The team discovered the digital experience was not meeting customers’ expectations. Through customer feedback, the brand identified the desire for assistance during shopping was just as—if not more—important for the online shopper as the in-store shopper.
In response, the brand revamped their e-commerce experience to meet the consumer demand. Product descriptions were expanded, product videos and guides were posted, and an overall fun and friendly tone was applied to the site to match the welcoming atmosphere of the stores. That extension of the in-store experience to the digital realm made all the difference—site traffic increased, conversion rates rose, and like-for-like sales improved.
As you expand into new channels, make sure not to leave your CX expectations behind. Consider:
The fact is consistency breeds loyalty, and our research from hundreds of clients has demonstrated customer behaviors that indicate loyalty—like willingness to return or recommend—have the strongest links to sales growth.
By creating and ensuring a consistent customer experience, you contribute to a sense of loyalty and reinforce customer expectations, helping to develop consistency and increased customer satisfaction.
An off-brand experience is not only detrimental to the company, but can be a big pain point for the franchisees and operators within your brand. While internal team members may distinguish their store from the location down the street, customers do not. For example, negative experiences at Store A may prevent consumers from ever visiting Store B. The inconsistency risk grows as brands venture into new territories and new technologies.
When it comes to serving customers, consistently positive experiences that leave customers satisfied make customers more comfortable with what to expect. By making sure every location is consistently delivering to brand and customer expectations, you help ensure better performance across the brand.
It will always be cheaper and easier to keep existing customers than attract new ones, but happy customers who are consistently highly satisfied over time will help both keep and attract business. In fact, our research into CX metrics shows 90% of highly satisfied customers indicate they are highly likely to both return and recommend—which is 2x higher than “satisfied” customers.
Any strategies to build strong customer relationships will consistently improve your bottom line simply by executing on the promise you make with every visit.
While physical growth and tech innovations will drive your brand forward, consistently delivering an on-brand experience will foster your customer base. Take time to consider which elements of the experience your customers value most and take steps to verify that you’re always delivering on those elements. As you expand, ensure those expectations are consistently met, and take the opportunity to raise the bar.
To see how we’ve helped more than 500 brands provide more elevated and consistent customer experiences, request a demo.
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