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Meticulously curated Instagram galleries, catchy taglines, expensive advertising, and even blog posts like the one you’re reading now—the investment required to sustain a consistent and memorable brand image is crucial.
In today’s market, consumers are barraged with options. The success of your brand image does not solely rely on the marketing department, but is shaped every day by the execution of consistent customer experiences (CX). But as your brand grows both physically and digitally, consistent CX can become increasingly challenging to sustain.
An off-brand experience is not only detrimental to the company, but can be a big pain point for the franchisees and operators within your brand. While they may distinguish their store from the location down the street, customers do not. Negative experiences at Store A may prevent consumers from ever visiting Store B. The inconsistency risk grows as brands venture into new territories and new technologies.
So where do you start? Luckily, your customers are happy to tell us when and where their experience does not cut the mustard. With focused and timely action, you can help these locations close the gap—keeping your brand image and return visits intact.
Let’s look at ways you can strengthen your brand image by providing consistent CX.
Identify inconsistency among locations
Start by quantifying your CX spread. What is the range of experiences that your locations are delivering? A unit range analysis makes it easy to quickly identify this number. The chart below illustrates the range of Overall Satisfaction scores by unit. By removing the outliers, this brand can see that the middle 95% of restaurants have an Overall Satisfaction variance of 35 ppts.
So now you have a number—what’s next? Consider these questions:
Consistency exercises such as these helped an SMG quick-service restaurant (QSR) client identify the source of high reported problem rates. The question arose when an insight revealed the company’s problem occurrence rate was higher than the industry average. However, upon a closer look, the brand recognized the issue was not systemic—the problems were driven by a small group of underperforming franchise locations that had lost engagement with their CX program and focus on the customer experience.
The leadership team launched a creative competition among operators to lessen the frequency of problems happening at their restaurants. As a result, the franchise locations in question improved their CX scores by 4 ppts, and locations that reduced problems experienced a positive impact on the bottom line.
If a competition isn’t your style, perform a deep dive on locations contributing to your inconsistent CX. Consider:
Understanding your CX opportunities at the location level allows you to target your improvement strategy and budget to those who need it most.
Identify inconsistency in omnichannel experiences
The means by which consumers prefer to interact with restaurants and retailers is rapidly evolving.
As your brand works to meet the demand to accommodate increasingly fragmented interaction preferences, how do you possibly deliver a consistently satisfying CX?
The first step to action is awareness. As your brand evolves, it will be key to make sure you are measuring all of these touchpoints, so you can identify experiences that may not measure up to your brand image.
For instance, a UK retailer found this was the case when analyzing their e-commerce platform. The team discovered the digital experience was not meeting customers’ expectations. Through customer feedback, the brand identified the desire for assistance during shopping was just as—if not more—important for the online shopper as the in-store shopper.
In response, the brand revamped their e-commerce experience to meet the consumer demand. Product descriptions were expanded, product videos and guides were posted, and an overall fun and friendly tone was applied to the site to match the welcoming atmosphere of the stores. That extension of the in-store experience to the digital realm made all the difference—site traffic increased, conversion rates rose, and like-for-like sales improved.
As you expand into new channels, make sure not to leave your CX expectations behind. Consider:
Eliminate inconsistencies for a rock solid brand
While physical growth and tech innovations will drive your brand forward, consistently delivering an on-brand experience will foster your customer base. Take time to consider which elements of the experience your customers value most. As you expand, assure that those expectations are consistently met, and take the opportunity to raise the bar.
For more information on how to identify and consistently deliver on the most importanct CX measures, download our best practice guide: Metrics that matter: 11 reports that translate CX data to program investment.
Hannah Hartsig |Senior Account Manager
The Forrester Wave™: Customer Feedback Management Platforms, Q4 2018
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