Consistency is a value-add that your customers count on. Surprises can be exciting but not usually when the delivery of your product or service is involved. This is amplified if you have multiple points of delivery from either your employees, your distributors or even geographically.
As a stereotypical Seattle resident, I have developed quite an affinity for Starbucks coffee, specifically a triple venti, four pump white mocha with whip. I know, I have turned into “that” guy that is in line in front of you that takes 2 minutes just to tell the barista what the drink order is. So be it.
I have been travelling the last few weeks outside of my home base, and I always seek out a Starbucks to start my day if possible. I order the same drink every time, and have come to expect that it would taste the same at every Starbucks, and most of the time I have been satisfied. Recently though, I have been getting my coffee with disappointing results. The white chocolate syrup is too little or too much. The cup is 3/4 full and then filled up with whip to make it look full. Even the whip cream has been inconsistent in flavor at times. Even though it is generally what I ordered, I leave disappointed in my experience. I leave disappointed in Starbucks.
Are you at risk of doing the same thing with your customers? Do they receive the same response time every time they call? Are your employees courteous and seek to answer all the questions your customer might have?
As a sales person, I count on the fact that my customer will receive the same quality of product each time they open a shipment. Color, size, weight should all be what they expected. If not, you run the risk of a disappointed customer.
If there is going to be a change from what they have come to expect, communicate it in advance of the experience. Let them know that a change is coming, and why. Help set the expectations that they will be having a new experience. Make sure that every touch point along the way receives the communication. The executive that signs off on the order, of course. But how about the warehouse team that receives your new packaging? How will it affect them? What about the people that put your product on the shelves? Will the new packaging pose a problem with how they have displayed your product in the past?
I am not suggesting that you don’t want to surprise your customer. Just make sure that you delight them in ways that do not reflect negatively on one of the core reasons that they continue to do business with you-consistency.
How does the expectation of consistency affect you in your day? Does it affect your buying decisions?