The importance of staying consistent with customers
Businesses should have clear customer centered policies that are the same from touch point to touch point. These policies should ensure that all customer facing personnel offer the same level of service.
All touch points should have certain attributes in common. They should be emotionally consistent. That is they should all exhibit the same level of friendly professionalism and concern. Customers should never be put in a position that they must demand someone address their problems, or feel the need to “educate” the customer service representative in how to do his or her job. This means that customer facing employees must be trained to remain calm in a crisis and know how to extract the necessary information from the customer without hostility. Much of this has to do with defining your brand in a positive way and ensuring that service representatives know how to convey that positive image.
Meeting expectations is another aspect of consistency. Customer facing employees must be empowered to resolve issues without the need for escalation, except in clearly defined and very unusual circumstances. To paraphrase American President Lyndon Johnson, “If the first person you talk to can’t solve your problem, you’re talking to a bureaucracy.” Rapid resolution, without the need for escalation, is not only important for consistency, it’s also a major element of good public relations.
Consistency isn’t always easy. Customer service can be expensive and the temptation to cut corners, such as outsourcing to customer service farms, can be difficult to resist. However, it’s important to realize that good customer service is not just a public relations operation. It is a way of encouraging brand loyalty in an era of strong competition where customer retention is an important part of future profits.