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The Two Musts For Every Small Business: Consistency And Service

Apr 15, 2008
Confusing a customer is an absolute no-no in all businesses but especially in a SMALL establishment. If a small business flunks consistency and service, they will rely on advertising to constantly attract NEW customers.

Most people do not automatically return (at least not soon) to any business that treats them indifferently or delivers inconsistent quality or service.

The big boxes can buy a customer back with their constant barrage of price-oriented pre-printed circulars. Small businesses, on the other hand, cannot afford to squander their precious ad dollars on price-oriented ads.

Your small business may never get a second chance to make a first impression. Trite but painfully true.

Consistency and service lead the list of what consumers today crave . . . and are willing to pay to get.

A friend says, Go eat at Club 25. We got a terrific steak there Tuesday night and enjoyed the experience. You go to Club 25 on Friday night. The steak is like shoe leather and the waiter is rude. Do you go back? Nope. No consistency.

Tuscany, Ltd. is an upscale Italian restaurant with a reputation for to-die-for food along with impeccable service. The owner always seems to be hovering about and making small talk with patrons. The last thing you ever remember about eating at Tuscany is the price you paid.

It does not matter if you have a party of six or just you and your spouse - if you eat there twice a week or once every other month - the food, the service, the ambience are consistently great.

Delivering consistency in any business never just happens. You have to work at it. When you spot something that is not consistent with the unique selling position of your company, change it or get rid of it.

Every small business owner must practice M.B.W.A. -management by walking around. Offer praise when it is deserved, advice when it is needed . . . make adjustments, tweak, diddle . . . do whatever you need to do to insure that you deliver consistency and service every time to every customer who crosses your threshold.

Never, ever think that you can run your business on automatic pilot. Treating a customer as a mere number equates to severe customer turnover which in turn equates to advertising that rarely produces results unless you cut your prices beyond resistible.

That formula has headed-for-disaster written all over it.

Your Unique Selling Position has to be
-Clearly identified
-Understood by employees and customers
-Implemented by everyone in your organization
-Stated often and delivered upon every time

In his best selling book, The E-Myth Revisited, Michael Gerber says: While the business must look orderly, it is not sufficient; the business must also act orderly. It must do things in a predictable, uniform way.

I would add to this statement: consistent with their stated unique selling position. As important as consistency is, you must be certain that the consistency in your business is coordinated with what you say you want it to be and what your customers perceive it to be.
About the Author
Bob Schumacher books and articles give entrepreneurs a clear coffee-shop English perspective on how to steer their business or profession into the top 20% who achieve 80% of the business and profits. Visit http://www.20do80.com for a complete directory of his articles and books.
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