Foreword Online

Ideas, information and industry news for collegiate retailers

Keeping Consistent Customer Service

Posted by Dean Asher on 7/16/14 11:00 PM

Whether they walk in the store, check your website or look you up on social media, students can have a different experience based on how they engage with your store. There is one constant throughout all these platforms, however: customer service. Making sure buyers get a consistent message and tone can do wonders for building repeat, happy customers. This post by Adam Toporek, originally published at, explains why.

Customers expect consistency among channels

In a recent post, Forrester's Kate Leggett discusses the expectations customers have. Whether they're researching a product, making a purchase, or working with the customer service department, customers want a consistent experience during every interaction, regardless of the channel they're using.

For larger businesses with a digital presence and/or customer support, many people begin their experience by visiting the company's website but then move on to interact with the organization through other channels. If the perception of the organization formed through the customer's online research does not align with the way the rep handles the phone call, that person may never visit a physical location or make a purchase.

Consistency across channels is just as important for current customers as it is prospective clients. When a customer contacts the customer support or the management team for the first time, their experiences must be aligned with the expectations created in the other experiences they have had with the company.

Consistency can drive satisfaction

Alfonso Pulido, Dorian Stone and John Strevel of McKinsey & Company authored an article on a recent survey that found "measuring satisfaction on customer journeys is 30% more predictive of overall customer satisfaction than measuring happiness for each individual interaction." What the authors gleaned from these findings is that consistency plays a big part in customer satisfaction throughout the customer journey. An interesting takeaway was that consistency created a positive emotional response among customers that was likely to increase their satisfaction with a company.

Throughout each touch point in their journeys, customers experience the same ease of interaction, simplicity of process, and helpful communication that characterize Zappos' delivery of service and that they expect from Zappos. When Zappos fails to live up to its own brand promise, you can bet that customers notice.

All about customer service basics

It's easy to forget about the basics. All organizations are under pressure to change, to grow, and to innovate, and often this occurs at the expense of the fundamentals. Delight and amazement are important service objectives, but when companies dedicate their energy trying to WOW customers before they have made sure their basic service ducks are in a row, the benefit of those WOW moments are often negated.

Is it better to simply provide a consistent experience for every customer, or to WOW some customers while you drop the ball for others? The goal, of course, is not to have to choose between the two, but the first priority should always be making sure that the basic service offering is being delivered consistently.

Often, just giving customers what they want in a friendly, timely and accurate manner is all you really need. And if you can do so consistently, you can create significant competitive advantage.

Article comments

Subscribe for updates

Share your experience

Contact our editorial team to set up an interview or to contribute a guest post.

Most popular posts