Customers Rock!

A blog about customers, their experiences, and how businesses can make sure their customer experiences rock!

Consistency of experience counts

Posted by Becky Carroll on October 26, 2007

car-keys.jpg When it comes to customer experience, there are a lot of factors that contribute to positive word of mouth.  In particular, a consistent experience is critical, whether it be across visits or across locations.  Doug Meacham of NextUp has recently joined the ranks of road warrior (ie. consultant – welcome, Doug!) and shares with us his story about the Hertz Gold program.  Doug loves the convenience of the service (so do I).

Unfortunately, some of the comments on Doug’s blog indicate the Hertz Gold experience is not consistent across Hertz locations.  Doug responds to the comments:

Clearly, the quality of a company’s customer experience is determined by its ability to execute the great experience CONSISTENTLY over time.

Once customer expectations are set, it is important to ensure they can be met each time, in each location.  This is a key area where many customer loyalty programs fall down.  Travel customer loyalty programs have become so popular, nearly everyone is “gold”.  It used to be a great day when you could board the plane early or get the choice cars.  Now, there are so many people using these services, it can sometimes be more the rule than the exception.  What happens when a frequent flyer/driver/stayer is one of many and there isn’t enough capacity for the “special treatment”?  Expectations are not met, and deep customer dissatisfaction occurs.

For this reason, customer experience isn’t just about giving employees incentives to treat customers nicely or to deliver great customer service.  It is about creating a strategy for how customers will be treated, across all touchpoints, and for the extent of the customer’s lifecycle.

Does your company have a customer strategy?  Tell me about it, and I will feature you and your company on the Customers Rock! blog.

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6 Responses to “Consistency of experience counts”

  1. [...] Check out Becky Carroll’s follow-up to this [...]

  2. Becky,

    Consistency across all touchpoints is absolutely key. Many organizations stumble because that they do deliver a consistent message. They master one touchpoint yet totally ignore another. The message the customers receives is confusion. If you’re a four star restaurant, yet have a one star telephone answering system, you have diminished your brand. Most organizations do not get this, thanks for reminding them.

  3. German Parra said

    Becky,

    Consistency is always a major task for a larger company, it is so hard to keep everyone on track, and creating a strategy from the beginning will definitely help. Would you say a new business or a smaller firm should create these strategies from the beginning and take advantage of their size to be very consistent in order to get an edge over potential competitors or even a differentiating edge over larger companies doing similar business? Or do you think, at early stages of a new business, achieving this consistency may end up ‘restraining’ future strategies or growth?

    It was a pleasure to meet you at Rady on the 18th. I hope to join the discussion more often.

    Good to hear you could get back home safely after the fires, I was lucky enough not to be evacuated, but listening to KOGO radio and checking singonsandiego.com were definitely my favorite ways to be updated about the situation.

  4. Jon Burg said

    Isn’t this really about friendship/casual friendship?

    If someone you have a casually friendly relationship with acts grossly inappropriately towards you, you will no longer consider them a friend and will continue to hold negative feelings towards them for some time.

    Social Media/Customer (People) Relationship Management is all about the relationship brands have with their paying users. If I’m paying to bring you into my life, you’d better not mess with me.

  5. marketing to people, not customers

    I’m loving the rash of posts on personal, people oriented marketing. The common theme here is this: you’re not marketing to customers, you’re seeking a relationship with a person. Here’s a quick roundup: AdverGirl’s tip for successful B2B – treat

  6. Hi Becky –

    Great observation that loyalty programs that were designed to make people feel special lose their cachet when everyone is “special.”

    I was flying the other day on an airline that has a program for “Elite” flyers. Two things I observed:

    1. There were more “elite” flyers than regular ones.

    2. The “elite” boarding line was right next to the regular boarding line, separated by one of those rope barrier thingies. I guess the “elite” carpet they put in the “elite” boarding line was supposed to make me feel like a movie star, but it looks kind of silly and comes across as a very lazy way to try and make people feel special.

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