“Customer Experience is not just about

passion. It is about profitable results.”

~Lior Arussy

The Importance of Creating Consistent Customer Experiences

Posted: Dec 26, 2013 by Michael Starr

Companies depend upon their employees to deliver differentiated and consistent customer experiences, yet one of the key challenges they face is the following scenario: a less than exemplary employee in one part of the world can undo all the hard work of an outstanding employee in another.

I experienced the impact of an inconsistent customer experience when I rented a car from two different locations of the same company, within a week of each other.

Same Company, Different Experiences

My first experience occurred in Toronto, Canada, when I arrived at the counter of my usual rental-car company without a reservation. The agent told me they didn’t have cars available, but then asked if I was part of their loyalty program. When I shared that I was, and that I’d earned their highest level of status, he said I didn’t have to worry – there was a car held aside that I could use. I was grateful for the treatment since it was my own fault that I’d forgotten to rent the car. The agent made me glad that I always rented from them.

Alternatively, when I arrived at the same company’s rental counter in Cleveland, OH, not only was the car I rented the only one covered with snow, there were no tools provided to remove the snow. When I went into the store to explain the car had not been prepared, the agent dismissed me, noting that he didn’t have the time to check which cars had been prepared for customers. He did give me a scraper so I could remove the snow and ice myself – at least.

Getting Back to Basics

As a frequent customer of this car-rental company, I know that it’s unrealistic to expect a delightful customer experience every time, but I do expect that the basics of the experience will be delivered consistently. And in the car rental world, a car that’s been cleaned and prepared for its driver is the basics. 

The agent in Cleveland eliminated all of the goodwill created by his counterpart in Toronto, weakening a positive memory that had been created only a week before. A second or third negative experience like the one in Cleveland will lead me to think that my loyalty ought not be to the company, but to the one outstanding agent in Toronto.

It Starts with Leadership

As leaders, we need to recognize that each of our organizations are at the whims of individual employees who often work far from and beyond the direct influence of corporate headquarters. We need to create and sustain a culture that encourages employees to deliver the target memory we want our customers to have when they think about doing business with us.   

This is a challenge. It requires that we examine all the aspects of our business: who we hire, how we educate, what we incent, who we recognize, how we coach and more.

Our organization’s culture will be created not by the posters we hang on our walls, but by the people and actions we celebrate on a daily, weekly and monthly basis. 

Are You Ready to Back Up Words with Action?

While we must recognize that every individual can have a bad day, we can’t tolerate individuals who demonstrate a consistent lack of interest in delivering the experiences necessary to delight customers so they become loyal. 

Good and excellent employees, the vast majority of the employees in most organizations, are always looking at how we handle those who aren’t interested in delighting our customers, as well as any action taken towards creating the culture we say we aspire to create. 

We need to demonstrate – through our actions – that we reward those who exemplify customer experience excellence, and that we don’t tolerate individuals who focus solely on the function they perform – rather than the impact they have. 

Only when we consistently reward – and reprimand – based on impact will we create an organization in which every employee is committed to creating the memories that create loyal customers.

Michael Starr is Principal @StrativityGroup

Connect with him on linkedin 

This blog is part two of our Customer Satisfaction Series – to be continued!

For more on customer satisfaction:

Want Improved NPS? Not So Fast – First, Perfect Your Performance

Engaged Employees Deliver Higher Customer Satisfaction and Greater Profitability

Case Study: Igniting the Love of the Customer: A Journey to Number One