Business Case and Implications for Consistency – Part 6 – Intra-Channel Consistency

Previously we explored inter-channel consistency and its implication for customer experience managers.

Inconsistent customer experiences are a significant threat to customer loyalty.  In a previous post, we observed the casual relationship between consistency in the customer experience and feelings of trust and loyalty.

Consistency drives satisfaction.  It is extremely common to see a correlation between intra-channel consistency and performance.  Consider the following scatter plot from Kinesis’ research, which plots bank branch customer satisfaction by the variation in branch customer satisfaction:

Branch Satisfaction by VariationAs this plot demonstrates, consistency correlates with quality.  Branches with higher customer satisfaction ratings are also the most consistent.  In our customer experience research proactive we see this time and time again.

Additionally, this plot also demonstrates that top-line averages of customer satisfaction can be misleading.  The bank in this plot had an average customer satisfaction rating of 93%.  However, many branches fall well below this top-line average, resulting in an incomplete picture of the customer experience.  Customers do not experience top-line averages; they experience the customer experience one interaction at a time at the local business unit level.

What are the implications for managers of the customer experience?

The first implication for managers is the above observation that top-line averages can mislead.  Top-line averages hide individual business units with both low and inconsistent customer satisfaction.  Top-line averages come between management and customers, distancing managers from how customers actually experience the brand.

Secondly, variation must be managed at the cause.  Intra-channel variation is almost always at the local business unit level.  For example, a store with a high degree of variation in customer traffic will experience a high degree of variation in the customer experience if management does not mitigate the effects of the variation in traffic.

How to manage for consistency:

  1. Manage inconsistency at the cause
  2. Write a clear mission statement
  3. Use appropriate analytics
  4. Don’t silo analytics by channel
  5. Meet regularly with employees to share problems and potential solutions
  6. Focus on customer journey

Intra-channel consistency needs to be managed at the local level – individual stores and agents.  Tools need to be available deep into the organization to allow managers at the lowest level of each channel to deliver a consistent experience.

In the next post we will explore demographic consistency, treating all customers the same regardless of their demographic profile.

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About Eric Larse

Eric Larse is co-founder of Seattle-based Kinesis CEM, LLC, which helps clients plan and execute their customer experience strategies through the intelligent use of customer satisfaction surveys and mystery shopping, linked with training and incentive programs. Visit Kinesis at: www.kinesis-cem.com

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