Consistency and the Bottom Line
Consistency and the bottom line. Consistency is incredibly important. When I talk to classes, when I talk to clients about service, the thing that comes up most often is consistency. Really, what does consistency mean? What does it really stand for? Well, it takes a lot of forms. Consistency is about timing. Now, how does timing work in customer service? When I say timing, what does that mean?
How quickly you respond.
Okay, so how quickly you respond to an email or to a question or to a sign for help, right? What else is timing about?
[Man Wearing A Hat] How long you make somebody wait on the phone.
Yes, exactly. How long are they waiting in anticipation of your products. It could be on the phone. It could be on a website. Has anyone been on a website and things are taking a long time, right? We can blame it on the wifi, but sometimes it's the website, so we need to be sure about the timing of the experience for our guests. Attention to detail. Attention to detail is a theme. Y...
ou're going to hear the idea of attention to detail throughout this and many of the other classes. Attention to detail is incredibly important, and I think that attention to detail sometimes gets a bad rap, but attention to detail is incredibly important in terms of the customer service experience but especially in terms of consistency. Consistency really is about the details: the details of timing and the details of the experience. Follow-up. This is something that I think that a lot of clients have trouble with: following up. Following up in the right timing, following up in the right manner, following up with the right verbiage or the right answer. Follow-up is incredibly important to people. Now, when I say follow-up, what's the feeling that you get from that? What does follow-up make you feel like?
It's really important. I had a problem with one of my delivery or food delivery app recently and I couldn't login, and I emailed the company and I didn't get an email in response till 48 hours later, and that felt like, "Whoa, this app that really values real-time "helping customers, and the response just wasn't congruent "with the branding, the company." Follow-up, that's really important.
That's a great example. Yeah, so if your business is based on immediacy and yet you're unable to follow through with any sense of urgency, that's a big disconnect. Great wording, congruency, right? Big disconnect between what the business stands for and actually what they're doing and how they're delivering up. Follow-up is really, really important to people. Follow through, a little bit different, right? Following up, I said this thing and I want to make sure that this thing is happening. With follow through, what's the difference between the two of them?
The big difference is when you follow through on something, you're actually accomplishing something as opposed to just saying that you're going to accomplish something.
All right, all right, so it's delivering on the promise.
That's right. Following up and following through are important because you're delivering now on your promise, and back to brand promise. What are the things your customer is going to expect from you? Expectation is really, really important. Accuracy, 100% percent. Now, accuracy takes many, many forms. What are some of the forms of accuracy that we look for in businesses that we patronize?
One of the things is that what you're purchasing is really what you're getting.
Okay, so very simple, I ordered A and I'm getting A. I'm not getting a version of A or a different aspect of A.
I'm getting A, exactly.
Possibly, when you're told something is going to be delivered, that's when you expect it and it should be there.
That's right. Yeah, accuracy, similar. I ordered food through an app, and they said it will come in this amount of time, and then in that amount of time it says it will be there in half an hour, it's not really on time then. It's not on time at all, in fact. It was all like, it had really cute gimmicky sort of slogans, like, "Get ready, your food's coming," and I was like, "Well, thanks, "but I've been ready, hungry." (laughter) Yeah, accuracy can be a very small thing, like quoting a time and keeping with it. It can be the actual product that you're delivering. Accuracy comes a lot down to promises and language, right? Are you able to deliver on that exact thing that you said you would, and when does that happen? Then communication. Ah, communication. Communication is incredibly important. It's one of our three pillars of customer service, but communication really is at the heart of everything we do. I say, even in my business as a consultant and an executive coach, it all comes down to communication. That's all we have sometimes, is communication. We're going to talk more about communication a little bit later on. Communication has a number of different forms. What are some of those forms?
(laughs) Sometimes videos.
Uh-huh (affirmative). Yeah, so it can be nonverbal.
Right, right. Yeah, so communication is incredibly important. You can have communication with people in person, right, and you can have it digitally. You can have it where they don't even see you. It could be on a website, but it can also be on your collateral and materials that people use to understand who you are, so communication is incredibly important, and the consistency of that is what people are looking for. People want consistency I think probably more than other things sometimes. Yes, they want the warm fuzzies, but if the warm fuzzies are miscommunicated or inconsistent, that's not going to add up to a heck of a lot. Now, the third or second pillar of our customer service little stool is trust. Consistency is a conduit for trust and without it, you create doubt in your brand. Now, trust, when we talk about it with my students, it's an interesting topic. Trust brings up a lot. Now, of you in my audience today, how many of you feel that trust is assumed? Do you just give trust and then wait and see if people distrust you, or do you generally distrust and wait for people to show that they're worthy?
I think it depends on the person and also the venue. In some areas, you tend to distrust people until they earn your trust, and in other areas you expect to trust people.
Right, so we're going to sort of feel out the situation a little bit.
But I'd say in my experience generally, people will trust you until given a reason not to, right? We go in with a trusting heart, let's say. Trust is incredibly important because our consistency with our clients demonstrates whether they can trust us or not, so back to that moment where you're like, "I'm willing to trust you until." They're doing that to you. Your clients are coming to you and they're like, "I'm ready to trust you. "But wait, what just happened? "Wait, is that consistent? "Wait, did they deliver on the promise? Now, all of a sudden, doubt enters our minds. We never want doubt to enter our customers' minds because once doubt happens, now it's question marks. It's questions about you, question marks about you. It's about your business. It's about the way you do things. We never want question marks to enter our customers' mind. We always want to keep them feeling that they can trust us. Consistency is one of those amazing ways to do so, just being consistent. It's a very simple thing but when you can focus on it, it will help you build trust. Now, service systems are going to create consistency, and then this is going to hopefully create happy customers. We're going to build systems, and we will talk about this in the next course. Happy customers will buy more. Do you believe me when I say this? Happy customers will buy more. Yes, exactly. Back to your happy customer. Not only are they buying more but they are talking you up, right? When we feel good, yeah, we're going to buy more. It doesn't always have to be about the price point. When I was a waitress back in the day, my confidence actually gave my clients confidence to buy more. For instance, I worked at a French restaurant for many years, and when I would go to a table and have confidence about the food, for instance, they would say, "Oh, I don't know if I should get "the salad as a starter or if I should get the risotto "as a starter or if I should get the foie gras "as a starter." "Okay, why don't you start with the salad and then "maybe your partner can get the foie gras, "and then you can get the risotto as a share "for the main course as your starch?" "Oh, my God. "That's so true." Now, all I was doing was listening. Back to Krista's question, right? All I was doing was listening to them in the conversation they were having, and then I was able to offer them all the things they wanted. They wanted that stuff but they just couldn't conceive of three appetizers. Well, all of a sudden, now one's a side dish. The same exact thing. But now they get the full experience that they wanted. By listening, I was able to make them happy, and happy customers, in that case, are going to buy more, and they don't feel like they're being sold. They feel like they're very, very easily buying more. Happy customers will also return more. This is back to our credo principle. We want people to come back to us. Now, that could be returning on the website. That could be returning to our shop, our studio, our business. It could be returning to an event or something that we do every year. But we want people to return more. Now, is returning to a business easy or hard for people? What do you think?
It's easy if they've had a good experience. Otherwise, it's hard.
Otherwise, it's hard. There's lots of reasons why not to return, tons of reasons. "Oh, it's far away," or like, I live in New York City, "We have to get on the subway," whatever. But if you give them a reason to return, it's a no-brainer. Those are not barriers. Those things do not come in the way of you going back. This happy customers theory, in terms of consistency, they are going to return more. It makes sense for them to return more to your business. Now, happy customers are going to say more. Back to your experience before. When they're happy, they will talk about you. "I'm happy about Jablue. "I'm going to talk about Jablue." Right? We need to make sure that we're making them happy because they're going to say more. Now, customers that say more are a double-edged sword. What are some of the things that they can say to us? Not only are they going to speak on our behalf, but what could they say to us? We're going to have people who want to talk about our business, and this is what I noticed when I worked in restaurants with lots of regulars. When you're a regular in a business, you feel like you own it a little bit, like, "This is my table," right? "That's my guy at the dealership." "That's my gal who helps me out all the time." They get a little possessive about it. When you feel possessive, when you feel like, "It's my thing," you might say, "Hey, it's a little wobbly," right? "Hey, were you up late last night," right? That's what I mean. They're going to say more, so they're going to actually give you feedback sometimes. Is feedback a good thing or a bad thing? It's a good thing. Why is that?
Because it helps you kind of decide if things are working or are not working and kind of make decisions based on the feedback.
That's right. When they say more, listen, right? When they tell you the experience of being in your operation or being on your website or interacting with your products or your staff, listen to what they're saying. Now, the thing to do is start to keep a journal, keeping notes, right, about the feedback that you're getting, because what I see with new owner-operators is that they very often will listen to the feedback and then change what they're doing. Now, small changes are okay, but big wide-sweeping changes because one person has made a comment, that's going to be too little information for you. If you keep a log, if you keep a journal, and you can start to see where the consistent feedback comes from, then you can make changes to your business. What I've seen is that the best businesses evolve, change and grow over time, and very often that's because of what your clients have said. Listen to what they're saying because they're going to tell you. These customers are going to keep your brand alive and well. 100%, back to service as the engine of sales. They're going to keep you alive by buying more. They're going to keep you alive by talking you up to people. They're going to keep you alive by writing good reviews and positive reviews. They really are the lifeblood of your business. Your ability to be consistent for those guests is really, really important. When I was a waitress back in the day again at this French restaurant, I had a client that came in, gosh, every couple of weeks. I can still remember his order to this day. He would have 12 Kumamoto oysters. He would have a Stoli Ohranj on the rocks. He would then have another Stoli Ohranj on the rocks followed by another 12 Kumamoto oysters. He would then order the Chicken Riesling which was a seasonal dish, so in the summer when the seasonal Chicken Riesling was off the menu, he would have a little, like, "Ugh, the Chicken Riesling is not on the menu. "Oh, my God." (laughter) He would then have to have another Stoli Ohranj, right, to get him through this moment. (laughter) Then he would order a bottle of red wine, something from Larone. Yeah, I mean, this guy is living large. That's the customer I love, right? Right there, three cocktails, a bottle of wine, 12, 12, and an entree. We love this guy. But we were consistent for him and we had the same conversations all the time, right? I looked the same because I was in my uniform. He had a consistent experience with this business. He knew he'd come in and do that thing, we would have the same shtick, and he knew that the quality of the food, which I have to say, over 20 years now the restaurant's been open, is always consistent. That consistency, you can rely on. He could be himself. He could throw a little temper tantrum, right, and it was all going to be okay. That consistency is something that really, really kept him coming back. I know for me, even as an employee, I loved having this guy. I loved blowing his mind, knowing it's time for another Stoli Ohranj. "Really?" "Come on now. "You know you want it," right? (laughter) Yeah, we had this whole little shtick, and that was really fun for me as an employee and wonderful for him as a guest. He came for years and years and years, and I wonder if he still goes there now. I hope he does. I hope he does. That's what consistency can do, and that was a happy customer for sure. He made a great impression on me, even as a waitress back in the day. "Long-term consistency trumps short-term intensity." From the master, Bruce Lee, right? Now, when you think of this in terms of martial arts, it makes sense, right? I can sort of picture a martial arts master really thinking about consistency and trumping short-term intensity but that's very, very true. Now, as a new business, for anybody who's a new business owner, that's incredibly important because very often you think you've got to come out of the box with a total bang and you've got to start doing new and wonderful things all the time. But don't worry about new and wonderful. Get a couple of things down and do those well. Do those really, really consistently, and that will really make your service shine. There's another quote from Bruce Lee that I love. "I don't fear the man who can do a thousand moves, "who's done a thousand moves once. "I fear the man that has done one move 10,000 times." I'm like, right? Yeah, be the business that does your move 10,000 times. That's what consistency is about.