What is the one thing that most businesses have problems with? In the fast food industry, it’s consistency with management and crew. Inconsistent crew and trainers will have a detrimental affect on food quality and service. In service industries, inconsistent policies will decrease the client life. Client life is defined as the length of time your client will REMAIN your client. In the investment world, you may have clients for decades, and this can also happen in fast food.
There was one nice little old lady that came in at 6:00 AM for a biscuit and coffee. When she didn’t show up one day, the crew sent EMTs to her place to find she’d broken her hip the night before and couldn’t get to a phone. If one of your clients didn’t show, would you notice?
There was a client who, when ordering Canadian stocks always requested a certain broker because this one could calculate the American/Canadian money exchange rate and the transaction costs and put the trade through in seconds. The other brokers took minutes. Because the brokers were paid on salary, the management didn’t recognize this trend. The process of quick calculations was never transferred to the rest of the team, so when the broker left, so did the process. Inconsistency cost the company many foreign trades.
Consistency on the part of the management and the company should be transferable to the employees or client services personnel. Consistency is what makes chain stores and franchises successful. You know that when you go to a HyVee, the floor lay out is going to be the same and you can easily find your groceries. You know that if you go to Famous Dave’s Barbeque, the menu will be the same as every other Famous Dave’s. You know that if you call Roto Rooter, the cost for the service is going to be the same, and the drains WILL WORK when they leave. As said in “Inside the Magic Kingdom” by Tom Connellan, your competition is everyone that is doing business around you. It’s not just the people doing the same business as you, it’s the service aspect, the quality aspect of everything you do. So if you’re making a product, you’re being compared to Cadillac, Maytag, Viking appliances, and Extreme Make over: Home edition… If you’re a service industry, even a school, you’re being compared to Sesame Street, McDonald’s, and the concierge in Pretty Woman! Do you understand what I mean?
The United Airline incident where the paid customer was forcibly removed and the whole thing was shared with everyone on the planet made people think that if they were consistent with all their paying customers, anyone could get thrown off their planes. Their stock took a brief dip, but I’m wondering how much actual business they’re losing. I will discuss Personal consistency tomorrow, if I get around to it.