In the past few years, brands have become increasingly reliant on social media as their primary method of customer interaction. While this is an effective way to engage people on the platforms they use daily, social media is just one piece of the vast customer experience puzzle. A truly effective customer experience is focused on opening up new paths of communication, as well as creating a friendly brand tone, and aligning actions with brand intentions. If these sound like three areas where your brand can improve, follow these tips for creating a more consistent customer experience.
Align Actions with Intentions
Having a recognizable logo is an easy way to attract new prospects, but if you don’t create a positive experience — your customers won’t stay.
According to Dr. Peter Murray, an expert on customer behavior, “consumers primarily use emotions, personal feelings, and experiences rather than information, brand attributes, features, and facts” when evaluating brands.
Just think about how you’ve felt after eating a sub-par restaurant meal or receiving an inaccurate item on your doorstep. When brands fail to deliver an expected promise, customers feel a mix of frustration, distrust, and disappointment — and it’s likely they’ll associate the brand with these feelings forever more.
According to Gartner’s Hype Cycle methodology, consumers often experience a fleeting temporary high after making a substantial software purchase. Many companies over promise and under deliver, causing consumers to feel dramatically let down before finding some sort of middle ground that ultimately plateaus. Unfortunately, these disappointed customers never reach the initial peak of expectation they experienced right after the point of purchase.
To avoid this dreaded sequence of expectation and disillusionment, brands should focus on upholding internal consistency. Find ways to make sure your team is on the same page about how you communicate with customers and resolve problems. For example, you may want to print out your brand promise and put it up on the walls in your office. Or, you can hold monthly meetings with your customer support team to discuss what went well, what went wrong, and how everyone can help create more meaningful customer interactions.
Make Your Brand Accessible
To be admired, brands have to embrace one universal truth: mistakes are going to happen.
So if you want to uphold your customer promise, it’s important to be prepared for the inevitable shortcomings that await you. There’s no way to predict every single hiccup or issue, but you can start by establishing an open path of communication between your team and your audience. This will reassure current and future customers that you’ll be there for them in times of trouble.
All companies should have a general support hotline or email, but you should also make it easy for customers to contact your support team directly. By providing multiple different avenues for customer interaction, you’ll be able to create more opportunities for delivering on your promises.
One way we’ve created an open path of communication with our customers at Brandfolder is by offering a live chat option in addition to an email and a phone number. Since our software engineers directly respond to live chat inquiries, we’re able to connect our customers with the people who can best answer their questions. After customers have one positive and rewarding experience with live chat, they feel more confident in our ability to solve their problems.
Establish a Supportive Brand Tone
Now that we’ve discussed the importance of an open communication path, let’s discuss what you say to customers, and, more importantly, how you say it. Your brand’s tone is a vital part of your brand voice, which is a direct reflection of your company’s overall mission.
To establish a consistent voice and tone across all channels, try creating a brand voice guide that everyone in the company can refer to. This will ensure that all consumer touchpoints — whether its as direct message, a tweet, or a phone call — convey the same tone.
In addition to upholding a consistent voice and tone over time, you should also find ways to create a strong initial impression to define expectations. If you’re a software company, try creating a comprehensive onboarding process to set standards around what you’ll offer. If you’re in the retail space, you can try defining your brand promise on your website or packaging.
A Consistent Customer Experience For Your Brand
Now that it’s commonplace for consumers to amplify their feelings about your brand across the digital mediums of their choice, one pleasant experience can have a positive ripple effect on your entire audience. That’s why creating a consistent customer experience is so important to your brand, and why you should always strive to create the best customer support team possible.