Be consistent in your experience, but stay true to your brand


Blog article / Tuesday, November 28th, 2017

A US Verizon user got 53 hardcopy mails from Verizon, thanking him for choosing eco-friendly, paperless e-billing (!). Not only is this super, super ironic, it’s also very inconsistent from a customer journey-design perspective.

A few of the 53 hardcopy mails somebody received after signing up for paperless e-billing. Ironic is a soft expression here.

Let’s talk a bit about consistency in designing experiences.

McKinsey had a very good article back in 2014, about the notion that consistency is one of the main drivers for customer satisfaction. As they state:

“…maximizing satisfaction with customer journeys has the potential not only to increase customer satisfaction by 20% but also to lift revenue by up to 15% while lowering the cost of serving customers by as much as 20%.”

Those are big numbers! And consistency is one of the ‘knobs to turn’ in achieving these results. Not the individual ‘happy’ moments, but the orchestration of touchpoints across the journey defines the overall satisfaction. Being consistent pays off, it seems.

Consistency & banking

“For bank customers, “a brand I feel close to” and “a brand that I can trust”

Yes. Consistency is important. Yet – as with many things in life – there’s two sides to this story. The way people perceive and attach value to an experience, largely depends on the industry and the brand. In banking, trust and security are very important psychological drivers. The last thing you want is any ‘funny business’ happening to your hard earned cash. For this reason, a financial institution might prioritize its goal of being ‘predictable’ and secure, over anything else.

Abstracted customer journeys: Service A (top) and Service B (bottom)

Consider both abstracted journeys in the image above.

Although the bottom one on average has a better score and the top one (8,5 versus 7,5), this does not automatically mean that Service B is considered as a better experience. Say, for example, that both services are banks. Service B shows a large dissatisfying event halfway the journey, most likely having a big impact on the predictability, security and stability aspects this bank hopes to strive for.

This being said, it’s important to stress the importance of brand and brand perception here. Take for example these two banks:

Both banks, both completely different brands (and brand image)

Yes, they are both banks – but that’s about everything that they have in common. See how their brand and brand image are very contrasting? The first thing you see on RBS’ brand website is the fact they have been ‘Established in 1727’, indicating their tremendous heritage and trust they’ve acquired over the years. Also, their head office is literally a castle, a striking symbol for its (again) rich heritage and ‘robustness’. What a contrast with Bunq: a virtual, millennial-proof bank, colorful, animated, fresh. Not the slightest resemblance with RBS.

Also, their head office is literally a castle, referring again to its rich heritage and ‘robustness’.

I don’t have to explain to you which bank radiates the most predictability, consistency and overall (emotional) security.

Yet, if we take the same example above and imagine both Services A and B are Theme parks, the results could be the opposite. For example: although there might very long queues in Theme park B (visualized by the big dip), its rollercoasters, cakewalks, merry go arounds (and what have you), score much better than Theme park A. Predictability, emotional security and overall consistency are of less importance – individual highlights and satisfying moments dominate.

The takeaway here is simple: how you design your journey and orchestrate its touchpoints is not just a matter of optimizing each individual element. Your organization’s mission, brand (values) and the industry focus are important variables in this equation and help shape the goal of your journey. What are you striving for? Overall consistency? Being delightful? Stimulating surprises? 100% predictable? Etc.

 

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