Consistency: Constantly adhering to the same principles, course, form, etc. (www.dictionary.com)
In today’s market, everyone seems to be sprouting up with the newest, awesome-est idea. America is becoming an entrepreneurial nation, a nation reinventing itself through the definition of business. It’s an exciting time and I dream of initializing my own businesses. But in the midst of dreams and creations, it’s important to remember one fundamental ingredient: consistency.
Growing up in a family full of entrepreneurs, I watched businesses succeed and others flounder. The reasons behind different outcomes are interesting and family dinner conversations often debated the possibilities. Why was one marketing tactic successful or another fail? The magical list of do’s and don’t for finding business success always vary, however consistency remains.
But if you think about it, being consistent isn’t so easy. Are you consistently happy or sad? Satisfied or unfulfilled? Probably not – most of us aren’t. It’s hard to walk a straight line, but it’s crucial to your success.
If you are starting a new business, own a business, or are fighting for the future of your business – asking yourself this question could make all the difference.
To be successful, you must be consistent: with your product, your customer service, and across all online mediums representing your business.
1. Your Product.
Imagine your favorite restaurant. They have this dessert you yearn for in the middle of the night. So one day you decide the calories are worth it! You invite a friend, brag about the incredible food and hightail it there with mouth-watering anticipation. But, when it arrives – it isn’t as good as you remember. Maybe the sauce is off, the temperature is different, or it looks funny? All of a sudden, your world is crashing dowwwn. What a letdown!
Now the serious question: Would you return to the restaurant? Would you give it another shot? Would you feel like you could trust the consistency of the product? Possibly. But the damage has been done, and you will never forget.
If your product doesn’t deliver consistent results, you will break your client’s trust and spend time and money trying to make it up to them. They will begin looking elsewhere, and you will eventually lose their business. This goes for any business.
But let’s be clear: being consistent doesn’t mean being perfect. Being consistent is consistently serving/selling/showing on the same level, the same product every time. It can be cheap, or mediocre, or luxurious – but it must be consistently so. Think about the products you stick to, the businesses you count on, the people you lean on, and I bet they all have a similar level of consistency in how they interact with you.
In the end it all boils down to MONEY! Is your customer’s money well spent?
2. Customer Service.
Social media is ushering in a new era of holding businesses accountable for customer service, and businesses are beginning to watch their back. The time of companies and businesses acting without regard to their customers is OUT – and excellent customer service is IN!
My father’s wife, Norma, told me that after the Great Depression there was a boom in customer service. People were spending again and every business wanted to make sure the money was spent with them. And as our economy is slowly rocking itself out of the recession, customer service is making a comeback in a modern way.
What does that have to do with consistency? Everything. If you aren’t consistently giving good customer service – your customers won’t stick around. In today’s market, people have several choices. They can shop online, go through Craigslist, a friend or take their dolla dolla bills elsewhere.
And what does first-class customer service say about your business? It translates into integrity and displays respect for your customer’s decision to buy from you. After all, they are spending their hard-earned money at your establishment or on your product. Say thank you, make them feel special – remember their name, and do not allow any fool working for you to have a chip on their shoulder. If they don’t treat your customers correctly, hire someone else.
3. Across all mediums.
Last week, I used a new iPhone app that advertised being a top aggregate source for designer job listings. I read through the listings and added a few “favorite” stars to look them up on the website.
But when I pulled up the website, there was no way for me to locate my favorite list. I emailed the creators and it turns out it wasn’t an included feature yet.
Will I use this service again? Perhaps, but my confidence in the product is tarnished. There are countless career staffing agencies who focus on creative positions online – why waste my time?
Covering your bases through consistency is important because it makes it seamless for your customer. Having problems within the first 24 hours of using a new product tells me everything I need to know – it’s not worth my time.
Is the logo on your social media sites consistent? Do they tie-in with your website? Do they support your cause? Demonstrate your ability? Do your online sites let customers know they are associated with the business immediately?
Consistency must be maintained across all mediums – Facebook, Twitter, websites, newsletters, etc. The attitude, style and language are important to making your customer trust your brand.
Why would you ask a total stranger to give you a second chance? Do it right the first time.
Consistency is not an addition to your business, it is the backbone of it.
Let’s be honest – the face of the consumer is changing. There’s a reason the advertising world is in disarray, there’s a reason big companies are nose-diving while start-ups are thriving, and there is plenty of reason to wake up.
Be consistent – with your product, your clientele, on all online mediums and you will be successful.
Alright, enough of my rambling. Do you agree/disagree? Is there another trait that is more valuable than consistency?