How Consistency Can Make or Break Your Customer Service
Updated: Jul 6, 2021
Consistency in corporate communications is underrated, in my opinion. Have you ever spoken to multiple representatives at a company about the same thing and been provided with different information each time? How do you decide who to listen to?
This experience is exhausting, and the company is likely to lose a piece of your trust. After all, how can you feel confident that any of the information you heard was accurate? If you’re anything like me, you decide the stress and confusion aren’t worth it, and you vow to make it your last interaction with the company, if possible.
Consistent communication isn’t just nice-to-have; it’s a must-have in customer service. Because most people don’t realize what they have until it’s gone, I think consistency often gets overlooked by customer service teams. It’s typically when things aren’t consistent that customers start taking notice.
Don’t wait until it gets to that point. Once you lose your customers’ trust, it’s hard to win it back. Make a commitment to make your company’s communications consistent today, and not just in the information you share with your customers, but in your tone as well.
Making Communication Cohesive
Along with providing communication training, I run a debt collection agency. As debt collectors, we have a responsibility to provide each consumer with accurate information that complies with our agency’s policies and the industry’s laws and regulations. Since we are a third-party agency collecting on our clients’ behalf, we also have a responsibility to maintain our clients’ professional images. This means all of our collectors need to be consistent communicators.
Preparing responses to our most frequent consumer objections is one of the ways we maintain consistency at our agency. Putting in this work ahead of time helps us provide responses that are powerful, convincing and cohesive in the moment.
Often, when you’re in the middle of a tense or difficult conversation with a customer, the perfect response or solution isn’t on the tip of your tongue. It’s also easy to become defensive and heated and focus only on the problem during a tense exchange. However, when you take the time to troubleshoot responses beforehand, you’re removed from the conversation and it’s easier to put emotions aside and develop solutions.
I recommend companies struggling to make their customer communications consistent start by planning out responses to their 10 most common customer objections. Along with developing a cohesive response that your team members can follow, you’ll be surprised by how many solutions you come up with for common customer pain points.
Your Team’s Tone Matters
Developing a reputation of consistency for your customers should extend to the tone of your communications as well. All of your customers expect an excellent and positive experience, no matter which member of your company they are speaking to. The trouble is, not everyone communicates things the same way.
That’s why, at my company, all of our communication follows the same three-step code. One of those steps is to always say what we can do rather than focus on what we can’t do. If you’ve ever reached out to a customer service rep for help or advice and the person’s only response was what he couldn’t do for you, you understand how frustrating the experience can be.
While preparing responses to common customer objections is a powerful tool, not every conversation can be planned out ahead of time. Having a common communication strategy helps make sure consumers, clients and colleagues are being treated in accordance with our brand promise, which is to leave people happier at the end of our calls than they were at the beginning.
This brings me to another point. When your customer communications do not match up with your brand’s promise or values, you risk losing your customers’ trust and confidence and your company’s credibility.
Have you ever decided to do business with a company because of the values they preached, only to find out they weren’t what they said they were about? The experience is jarring and leaves a bad taste in your mouth. Do that to your customers, and they’re likely to feel the same way.
One way to stay true to your brand’s values is to make sure they’re clearly defined. Once you have a parameter set, it’s much easier for your team to remain consistent. That’s why during onboarding, we share our company’s vision, values, and expectations with our new employees so they understand what our company stands for on the first day they start working with us. We share these values on our company website, too, so our customers and clients are familiar with what we represent. This helps hold us accountable.
Once you’ve defined what your company’s values are, develop your team’s communication strategy by incorporating language and behavior that exemplifies those values. For instance, if your company prides itself on being respectful toward its customers, make sure your team members are communicating in a way that makes your customers feel heard and supported.
Also, don’t assume that everyone views your communication as cohesive. Ask for feedback from your customers and team members. You want people to notify you of inconsistencies so that you can fix them or better explain why you’re switching things up.
The Power Of Consistency
There is power in language. The feeling your words create can make the difference between a happy consumer and a dissatisfied consumer. If you’re generating confusion or distrust, you can bet that your customers aren’t going to stick around. Don’t let consistency get overlooked in your company.
Do you want to know more about my 3-step Communication Code? You can find more information here.
This post was originally featured on Forbes.com. You can find the original version here.