With the fast-paced lives we lead today, consistency provides a sense of comfort that we strive for.
Children seek consistency in their everyday lives which helps them to know what to expect from their parents at all times and provides them with the security they need to develop into healthy, confident adults. This need for consistency remains with us throughout our lives and is critical in helping us to build relationships of trust.
This is demonstrated in all facets of life, right down to the brands we purchase when shopping. If a consumer trusts a brand, they are willing to pay a premium for it even though there are other similar offerings available to them at a lower price.
But why is consistency so important? Consistency is what psychologists call a ‘decision heuristic’, or shortcut for making decisions. This means that in the complex world we live in and where we are constantly inundated with information, consistency helps to ease our decision making, as once we have made a decision about a particular thing, such as a brand, we are likely to stick with our initial decision rather than have to think about it again at the risk of possibly being disappointed.
Consistency, which means doing things the same way time and time again, is viewed as a rational, trustworthy, stable and decisive trait. It also provides a level of certainty that the person or company that we are engaging with will be around for several years rather than fly-by-night. As such people are drawn to people, brands and companies that are consistent.
Consistency a critical trait
People invest a significant amount of time and effort in selecting the right company to meet their needs from the brands selected when purchasing groceries to important matters such as life insurance and investments. This time is invested upfront in the hopes that the person can trust the organisation to deliver on the end product when it matters. They also hope to not have to go through the process of finding a replacement in the event that things don’t work out as planned with the company.
While consistency is a critical trait to establishing relationships of trust, companies, and particularly larger organisations that have several employees engaging customers at any given time, can experience several challenges in delivering consistent experiences at every customer touchpoint. However, in today’s competitive business landscape, companies can increase revenues by up to 23% by always presenting a brand consistently, this is according to a 2016 study conducted by Demand Metric Research Corporation.
By delivering inconsistent experiences in customer engagements, companies are eroding the trust that customers so desperately seek in order to establish a relationship and continue to use the services of the organisation. Think of a brand as a team of Russian synchronised swimmers, if one of the swimmers is out of sync with the rest, the audience will notice immediately, however, none of the swimmers will be aware. In terms of brand delivery, while each employee may think they are delivering a consistent brand experience, only the customer will truly know the difference when engaging with various employees.
Get the details right
As such if a company cannot get the small details right, such as the logo on email communications or documents and inconsistent fonts are used across all communications, how can a customer trust the company to meet its needs? Every detail, whether large or small counts and they all need to be delivered consistently in order to create brand certainty and trust.
It is for this reason that every employee within an organisation should be responsible for the customer experience and strive to deliver consistent experiences that align with the overall brand. What a company says it will deliver in its advertising, for example, has to be consistently delivered in all its customer engagements across the entire organisation, from the receptionist to the accounts team to the call centre agents handling a query.
While delivering consistent experiences can be challenging, often technology solutions, such as automation, can be implemented to help streamline the process and remove some of the inconsistencies that can occur from employees adding their own personal touches to brands. By implementing these solutions, employees are also freed up to focus on customer engagements and delight rather than performing repetitive tasks that hinder on productivity.
Paula Sartini is founder and CEO of BrandQuantum, a South African company whose software solutions are available to companies worldwide.
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