VARIANCE IS A TROUBLEMAKER
Variety is the spice of life. Or is it? It is true that new experiences can be exciting and make things more interesting, but what about when it comes to expectations from a familiar business? People may want to have new experiences in their personal lives, but they don’t want that from a business. What customers want is the same level of quality and value they always receive.
Fast food chains have figured this out and that is why no matter where you go, the fries, burgers and milk shakes taste the same. If the meat on your burger tasted better at one location, you wouldn’t know what to expect at any particular location and that makes you less likely to purchase from this chain. This is a challenge for multiple location businesses, but it’s even a challenge for single location, small businesses. To get the product or service just right every time takes tremendous focus and persistence. However, this is a must if the business wants to retain customers.
Customers who pay for a $5.99 cup of coffee, expect to get $5.99 worth of value out of that coffee. If the value is $1.87 one day and $9.45 the next, a customer won’t want to continue taking the chance that the coffee will be a dud on the day of their purchase. This customer would much rather receive and pay for a cup of coffee that is $3.99 in cost and value if it’s the same every day. They will want to avoid that horrible $1.87 day that occurs every once in a while. Variance in products can have disastrous results based on this example, but a variance in experience can also lead to harm.
A receptionist who is warm and friendly one day, but standoffish the next will be pushing customers away. Not only will someone want to avoid rudeness, but will more than likely complain about an interaction that was less than satisfactory. This can be one of the most difficult things to achieve in a business. A consistently good experience.
Business owners must decide what experience they want their customers to have and map out exactly how it will be implemented. Employees need to be trained on this customer experience plan and be given practical guidelines for how to deliver it. There can be no confusion within your business if you hope to provide a specific experience for your customers. It won’t just happen by having good people in your business.
Variety is a lovely thing when looking for something new. However, it can undermine quality and experience if consistency is not designed into your process.