The key to success is consistency.
It’s not always about being the best or having the best product or even being good at what you do. It’s about being consistent. Consistency in everything you do.
While this may seem obvious, it’s easy for consistency to falter. I’ve just stayed for two days at a hotel in Vienna. The first day along with the selection of juices, there were champagne flutes and a bottle of bubbly.
On the second day, the champagne flutes were there but no bottle of bubbly. The bottle arrived an hour after breakfast had started. Also, on the second day, the coffee pot was empty for a period of 15 minutes. While these are all minor issues, those small differences on the second day, meant our final impression was of lack of consistency.
Most times, as a consumer, you’re not going to know whether the business you’re dealing with is consistent or not. Hopefully, you won’t have to complain more than once to test this theory.
Having a standard way of dealing with objections or issues, will ensure that, no matter what, there is consistency.
While on this same trip, we have made a special trip of 500km to go back to a shop we bought from two years earlier. They were to have sent the items to us in Australia. However, the items never turned up.
My first email follow-up, I received a reply that they were making up new items for me and to be patient. Other emails received no reply.
So, we arrived at the shop, asked to speak to someone who speaks English (we’re in a part of Germany where few people speak English) and the same lady we dealt with two years ago came out to assist us.
Her immediate response when I showed her the invoice/receipt and said we’d not received the goods was to ask if we wanted to take them with us that day.
I suspect that while this is a rare occurrence (we’ve bought from them before, and the goods have arrived). However, the consistency of their reputation and their key to success is to accept the customer as being right. Then do whatever is necessary to make good.
Continuing with the story above: during the entire time, there was not a raised voice. And while I didn’t understand the German, you could tell that there was no pointing fingers, no aggravation or upset.
Some of the ladies assisted in locating the items and packaging them up. Every single communication was spoken in a calm and friendly manner.
Unfortunately, I’ve been in other businesses, where the voices were raised, you could tell that an argument was going on, or that someone was being yelled at for making a mistake. It’s not pleasant for the team, and it’s not pleasant if any customer is within hearing.
How do you deal with invoices and clients or customers who don’t pay within your payment terms? While we may not like asking for payment (most people don’t), but it’s a bit like treating children.
If you give them some slack one day, they’ll expect it every day and once there is a pattern entrenched, it’s hard to wrest back control and enforce the boundaries.
The same thing applies to recovering payment for your invoices. And lets face it, getting paid is an important key to success.
I had a client who always paid my invoices very late. When I sold my accounting practice, surprise, surprise, they paid the new accountants fees within 60 days, whereas I often waited over 12 months for payment.
Why? Probably because at some point, I said it was okay to delay paying. Then they just kept extending the period until it became ludicrous. But I was never able to bring them back under control.
When you want to get good service from your suppliers, the best way is to be one of their best payers. Pay on time, every time.
Customers who are good payers will always get the better service, and may be able to negotiate better pricing after they’ve proved their reliability in paying.
Consistency in all areas of business is key to success.
There is another benefit of consistency; the more you do something and the more frequently you do it, the better you become at it, the easier it becomes and the less you have to think about it.
Originally published on www.smallville.com.au