Traveling around the country, I like to keep some of my same routines. One of them is my morning coffee. It’s a comfort to know my venti coffee at Starbucks will taste the same in Chicago as it does in Los Angeles or New York or even Dothan, AL for that matter. That venti is almost always delivered with the same level of service. The same is true with my McDoubles at McDonald’s and my six-inch turkey sandwich on wheat at Subway…although I’m eating more of the latter after my last cholesterol test.
What makes these brands and many others great? One word: Consistency
Consistency in Product — Whether your business is a single shop or has multiple locations, customers expect to receive the same level of quality regardless of how many transactions they make with your company — much like my venti coffee.
Consistency in Service — Customers expect to receive the same level of service at all of your locations. Discipline in reinforcing service standards plays a big role here. For example, Subway has a service standard that the customer is to be greeted within seconds of entering the store.
Consistency in Experience — Every interaction with the customer should be the same, or at least very similar. Every trip to McDonald’s should be fast, inexpensive, and tasty. The transaction that a customer is allowed to do at the Chase branch in Pasadena should also be acceptable at the Chase branch in Anaheim. A call to Zappos should be a similar experience on Friday when I speak to Sally as it was on Tuesday when I was speaking with John.
Consistency in product, service, and experience — the last aspect probably being the most important — is what creates customer and brand loyalty. Not every business achieves a high degree of loyalty because it takes great discipline, throughout every level of the organization, to reach the standards of consistency that are necessary.
Sounds similar to the discipline I am going to need to lower my cholesterol. Goodbye McDoubles. You were my favorite.