Consistency is such an important quality in a brand; it encourages your customers to place their faith in your work and rely on the services that you offer them.
There are plenty of other goals to aim for in business (high revenues, fair pay for staff, corporate responsibility, etc.) but consistency of service should certainly be up there as a priority. Whether yours is a tiny rural retail shop or a multinational corporation, you will gain the trust and business of more customers if you consistently meet customer experience expectations.
On a base level, if you get a consistent level of service from a company then you at least know what to expect from them. It may be that this level of service is not world-beating, but there is a degree of certainty there. For example, if a small tool shop has a limited range of products and is slightly difficult to get to but the owner consistently goes out of their way to answer DIY questions, then the store could still be a relative success. The customer knows what they are getting.
Consistency in approach
Transferring this notion to a customer relationship management (CRM) setting, what you are looking at is delivering a consistent customer experience by ensuring that the tools you use replicate interactions for every individual that communicates with you. Something as simple as an acknowledgement email when a customer gets in touch with you is an important cog in a CRM system.
Taking the acknowledgement email as an example, you can imagine how a lack of consistency could cause trouble; one customer contacts you to praise your service and receives an acknowledgement saying they will be contacted within 48 hours, while another one emails to ask about a recent order and does not get anything back. The latter customer will begin to worry, both about the product they have spent their money on and your ability to fulfil their expectations.
Similarly, some banks use SMS to warn people if they are getting close to the bottom of their authorised balance – failing to keep this service consistent could see people go into unauthorised overdrafts and lead to fines. With these sorts of examples, it is easy to see how important it is for a CRM system to be faultless – and also how an automated system could enhance the customer experience.
CRM and the complete customer experience
CRM is a relatively modern term that encompasses the entirety of a company’s interactions with a customer – this means that everything from the initial inquiry to the final sale is recorded, allowing the organisation to gauge the nature of the relationship and adjust communications accordingly.
For instance, if a consumer contacts the firm in response to a bulk SMS campaign, then this fact will be recorded. A smart company can also take something from this – that customer has responded to mobile marketing as opposed to messages sent on other platforms (social media, email, etc.), so perhaps this is the manner in which they prefer to be contacted?
By utilising a quality CRM system, you can ensure that there is a degree of consistency to the way that the company reacts to certain actions. Maybe you would like a whitepaper to be sent out customers three days after they have signed up to receive email alerts, or simply a promotional email one month after a sale has been completed to remind them of your existence?
The key to all of this is making sure that your marketing strategy is repeated for each appropriate candidate – maintaining a consistent approach to achieving more business. This consistency also arguably makes it simpler to work on measuring and improving your messages – as you know exactly what communications have been sent out.
The same – but different – demographic handling of customers
One important aspect of maintaining a customer experience is to realise that you may not want to treat all of your contacts in exactly the same way. It may be much more prudent to separate them into different age groups and geographic groups, as well as treating individuals differently according to their recorded behaviour.
While every individual that gets in contact may be interested in a discount token, an email about a sale going on in a particular city in the south of England is probably not going to interest those living in other regions of the country, let alone international recipients.
Use your recorded interactions to learn about how different demographics should be communicated to – always remembering to keep a consistency to your brand, even if the experience you deliver differs according to what type of customer you are dealing with.