Consistency between the company's brand and the operational model of providing services is crucial in striving for extraordinary customer experiences. Consistency is a key element in the successful design of each company's operating model to provide services.
Two simple examples of "consistency" can explain this concept.
One luxury travel agency advertises itself as an expert in determining the "best fit" between holiday desires and various properties around the world. However, when consumers ask for specific hotel-related details (i.e. how convenient is the hotel in Bilbao Guggenheim?), It quickly becomes clear that service representatives are not qualified or familiar with travel destinations to serve high-end clientele. There is a visible mismatch between the identity of the "luxury" brand and the experience or training of service representatives.
Otherwise, a large credit card company advertises its service as world-class. However, invoicing disputes cannot be resolved over the phone or the Internet, instead requiring written correspondence with the evidence collected by the consumer from the merchant. Truly world-class companies deal with the same requests by phone and intervene on behalf of the client in sales representatives; require the seller to present proof, not the consumer. Because the bar for services has already been set extremely high, a new entity that is trying to attract high-end consumers must meet or outperform competitive offers. A promising high-end service, followed by a lack of it, has a more detrimental effect on loyalty than setting low expectations and consistently meeting clear standards.
Consistency encourages independent choice among potential customers, increasing the likelihood that investment in advertising, marketing and sales will bring a return in the form of revenue growth. Strong, clear brand identity reduces selling costs, chasing a huge pool of potential customers who are unlikely to switch to paying customers.
A clear brand identity associated with a consistent service strategy also sets a waiting threshold that can dramatically reduce the number and intensity of customer complaints, and thus significantly reduce the cost of handling exceptions. Consumers who know they are shopping in a bargain basket at Wal-Mart will have lower expectations than fanatical fashionists searching Manolo Blahnik's second in Century 21. Sure, they pay only $ 250 for $ 725 Tuccio Watersnake Pumps, but they want excellence is a discount packaging.
Lack of consistency can be demonstrated in a relatively subtle way, but these discontinuities are noticed by consumers, consciously and subconsciously, which causes barely noticeable anxiety or discomfort, which reduces the customer's tendency to repeat transactions. Customer deviations from the norms of loyal behavior cause at least excessive marketing costs, in the extreme case the lack of repeated transactions translates into negative oral opinions and the final collapse of the company. Restaurants, bars and nightclubs are classic canaries in a coal mine for this phenomenon. Without a solid core of recurring business (or exceptionally large repetitive tourist traffic), a restaurant without this spoken word cannot generate enough traffic through advertising alone to stay open.
Consumers easily share their expectations and quite conveniently change their requirements, entering different expectations. Parents can eat one night at Fat Duck in Bray (chosen the best restaurant in the world in 2005), and the next night take their family to the Outback Steakhouse; still seeing both these different experiences as completely satisfying. The consumer can take the Maserati Quattroporte to Central Park for a $ 2 hot dog and not feel any dissonance because their expectations are well forked. Travelers can comfortably stay in Taj, New Delhi, one night and camping under the stars in Rajasthan, the next. Consumers usually do not demand the highest luxury and sophistication from every experience, they simply demand that every experience be within the right expectations.
A company's brand identity is one of the most powerful ways to define these expectations. The second key factor is the brand support environment. If the brand identity is dispersed or dissonant and the service standards are not adapted, then the consumer is not able to settle on the basis of expectations that fit and do not set a pattern of "loyal" behavior towards this company. Transaction repeatability is reduced, and the consumer does not give a positive opinion on the buzz that is so important for long-term revenue growth.
By establishing consistency between brand identity and the service delivery model, companies can begin to set a strategy that will lead to extraordinary customer experiences.
Copyright © 2007, Lotus Pond Media