Do you know how your customers really see you?

Your customers see you exactly as you are currently designed.

You work hard to let your customers know that they can trust your business. You want them to know that your company produces quality products and treats them fairly.

The overall message is that doing business with your company will pay off with high levels of satisfaction, each and every time.

That’s what you tell yourself. That’s your vision. But what are the customers experiencing? What message are you REALLY sending to them?

You are only what you consistently deliver

If you aren’t consistent, you can’t establish a reputation for all of those great things you strive for.

When businesses struggle, it’s not for a lack of a vision of quality and high performance. Many leaders can communicate that vision well, but the biggest challenge comes in making that vision into a deliverable promise for every customer.

A business that doesn’t deliver consistency, will only succeed in frustrating their customers.

Bad examples

I’m sure you can think of dozens of businesses off the top of your head that frustrate you because of their inconsistent practices. Here are a few from my experience:

• Cable companies – I wonder if my bill will be going up yet again next month? I’m still confused about last month’s miscellaneous “service fee.”
• Schools – I hope my child will get a “good” teacher this next year. Last years’ teacher was impossible to get feedback from!
• Hospitals – I sure hope my mom gets a “good” nurse after her surgery.
• My doctor’s office – 60 minute wait and I’m STILL waiting!

Each interaction with these companies give me, the customer, an unknown result. I’m stuck hoping for a “good” employee to interact with, or a better experience than I sometimes get.

If the customer doesn’t know up front what their experience is going to be, they will eventually become frustrated with your service/product.

Good examples

Now, think of the companies that deliver a satisfying experience to you every time. They are consistent with their service, aren’t they? Here are some of my favorites:

• McDonalds – I just bought a Big Mac while in Germany. Guess what it tasted like? A BIG MAC!
• Chick-Fil-A – Have you ever met happier drive-thru employees?
• Walmart – Greeting you at the door every time.
• Disney – There’s a reason they deliver magical experiences!
• My kids’ orthodontist office – In and out in 15 minutes. No check in. No check out. Just like clockwork.

The path to great

So what’s the difference between the two types of businesses?

The answer is process.

High performing companies have processes that are well known, supported, and performed on a daily basis. There are very few “exceptions” allowed outside of the process. Leaders and staff commit to the process and never stray from it.

When process is followed, you will create the same experience every time. An experience that you can control.

And when you can deliver with consistency, your customers will reward you with their loyalty.

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