We’ve all heard the stories about brands that go to extraordinary lengths to delight a customer. The home visit bearing gifts. The call from the CEO. The impromptu tropical vacation to reward your loyalty.

There’s no doubt that this sort of delight is a powerful currency, particularly in the age of social where these highly choreographed acts of kindness can be played out in plain sight.

But in the game of customer experience, I’d argue that consistency will always trump delight.

Why? Because delight is episodic—it’s once and done. It’s artificial—it’s rendered because someone else is watching. And because delight doesn’t scale—by design, it disobeys basic customer economics.

While delight has a purpose in customer experience strategies, it will never move the needle like consistency.

Delight may create brand advocates who spread the gospel of your goodness, but that’ll be a temporary blip if you fail to deliver on your brand promise. Delight without consistency is like the fun, but wholly unreliable friend whose inconsistency eventually wears out their charms.

Without consistency, your advocates will burn bright and then simply fade away.

It’s also worth remembering that advocacy is an imperfect indicator of loyalty. Admiration for a brand doesn’t necessarily lead to patronage. This is particularly true for higher end, aspirational brands.

As a concept, I’ll admit, consistency is a bit dull. But it’s what keeps your customers coming back. More to the point, it’s what prevents them from running for the hills.

For many companies, consistency is lost in the gaps between organizations, systems and processes. It’s the bank agent who, in a genuine effort to help, transfers your call into oblivion. Or the multichannel retailer that won’t honor bricks-and-mortar returns for online purchases.

Consistency is often compromised when good intentions work at cross purposes. When one organization makes promises that other groups can’t or aren’t willing to fulfill.

These promises may begin with the right intentions, but they end up making the experience appreciably worse for the customer who’s whipsawed by the dissonance from one interaction to the next.

All the choreographed moments of delight can’t overcome that sort of thing.

So, before you seek to delight, focus on getting the experience right.

It’s your consistency that will delight customers the most.

2 Comments
  1. 1 August 2015 at 8:10 pm
    Eric Silverstein says:

    Great post Jake!

    As you highlighted, you first need to make sure you deliver on your brand promise in a consistent basis, across all channels and touchpoints, then you can focus on those special micro-moments where you can delight your customers.

    Consistency reinforces the trust you have built with your loyal customer, nurture and empower your advocates since they will amplify your brand voice.

  2. 3 August 2015 at 10:10 am
    Qustomax Limited says:

    These are really thoughts and focus on the impact of consistency on customer experience. However, many readers or sometimes writers too, occasionally fall into the trap of reading or discussing some truth like the universal practice of ‘eye tests’ where one eye is covered/closed to examine the reading ability or clarity of another and then opened while the previously examined is closed to repeat the process in reverse order. Part of consistency is to bear in mind the heterogeneous or multiple dimensions of truth each of which is valid in its own space, does not nullify the other but altogether are fundamentally homogeneous in being truth. For instance where there are heterogeneous dimensions to customer experience on social media, one still fundamental truth not limited to multichannel platforms is the need for consistency. That is particularly so as customer experience basically revolves around and involves humans, who are social beings (not just animals as they often ‘feel’ treated) and certainly not just “human doings”. Even within the same channel or touchpoint, strong brands learn to be distinctive, relevant and consistent in all customer experience management. In line with Jakes’ thoughts, Net Promoter Score strategies when deployed with consistency will effectively engage advocates and manage incliners or decliners, passive or madvocates to great sources of learning and earning by way of referrals. Strategic efforts to achieve this have to be deliberate and consistents as nothing happens unless it’s made to happen!

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