In today’s competitive landscape, it’s more important than ever before for organizations to keep an underlying focus on consistency across all touchpoints, interactions, and milestones within the overall buyer journey. While creating single, standout experiences can certainly help to capture a buyer’s attention temporarily, it’s ultimately not enough to win their loyalty.
When it comes to proving value and earning a buyer’s business, the companies finding success are those recognizing and prioritizing the importance of delivering consistent experiences across multiple interactions. Establishing this consistency directly fortifies a buyer’s loyalty, from their very first introduction to your organization all the way to the ultimate goal of full customer maturity.
As buyers today use a multitude of channels to engage with brands or prospective companies, this need to foster consistency has truly become essential. Research done by Forrester in 2017 outlined that 95% of customers use three or more channels to connect with a company in a single service interaction, with 62% using more than one device. Similarly, Accenture has found that 65% of customers have expressed frustration over inconsistent experiences or information presented across channels.
You might have been nodding along in agreement while reading the statistics outlined above. While these numbers refer to customers as opposed to prospective buyers, the same concept still applies regardless of stage in the overall journey. For context, here’s an example.
Say you’ve just started a new job, and are looking to buy a bike for your daily commute. After doing some preliminary browsing on a few different websites, you land on one company in particular. Their site is clean and organized, and an associate engages you immediately in a pop-up chat box. Once you’ve explained what you’re looking for, they direct you to a number of great options, all of which meet the exact needs you’ve just described. Inspired by the great first impression and ready to continue the process as a result, you decide to check out some of the models you liked in person so you can test them out. You head to the store, but nobody is around to greet you so you start shopping around independently.
After about 20 minutes and a lot of confusion, you have to track an associate down to ask them some questions. The associate is friendly enough, and you chat about what you’re looking for, relaying the same information as you did online. They go to the back and emerge a few moments later with a trick mountain bike that’s about triple your budget. Deciding to be patient, you reiterate your needs in other words and they try once more, coming back with something a bit closer to what you had in mind. When you take it for a quick test ride, though, the pedals fall off as soon as you get on; they had forgotten to screw them in fully.
Within moments, the stark contrast between the experience you had with your initial point of contact and the experience you’re having now leaves you feeling both hesitant and uncomfortable. Despite your strong start, the quality of the associate and of the store as a result of these sequential hiccups has left you feeling quite certain that you won’t be buying your bike from them. As a result, you thank them for their time and let them know you’re going to browse around at a few more places before making a decision.
Tying it back to the business world we live in today, it’s not enough to deliver a single interaction that blows someone out of the water, or even good service across the majority of the steps in a single buyer journey. Whether it’s related to interpersonal or knowledge-based interactions, a lack of consistency in the overall experience can be detrimental overall. One negative interaction carries far more weight than a handful of positive ones, meaning that consistency needs to be established by meeting or exceeding expectations on a regular basis, time and time again.
Your company can’t be solely reliant on a strong brand to win buyers over and earn their business. Instead, the focus needs to be on delivering excellent experiences across all of the varied channels your buyers are using to interact with each and every aspect of your business.
Not only does the consistency across channels help to impress your buyer and increase their level of confidence in you, but it also shapes their impression of your organization as a whole.