I’ve been reading Truett Cathy’s book “Eat Mor Chikin – Inspire More People.” I always find it interesting that fast-food restaurants, such as his Chick-fil-A, place so much emphasis on consistency. Notice I didn’t say quality.
Truett tells the story of buying his first automatic machine for his very first restaurant. It was a coffee maker. Previously the staff was making the coffee much like you’d make it at home. They put in a filter, water and measured out the coffee grounds. But every employee did it differently. some put in more water, some put in less grounds. It was never quite the same.
Truett was excited about getting the automatic coffee maker – and not because it would save time. He wanted it so it would make a consistent cup of coffee. Always the same no matter who loaded in the buckets of coffee or pushed the start button.
Much later one of his employees had an idea to improve the company’s coleslaw. She thought it was boring and started serving her own recipe to customers. Evidently, it was better – but it was different and different is not good in the fast-food business. Only one batch was made before management stepped in and insisted on the real coleslaw recipe.
A Chick-fil-A customer in Atlanta needs to feel safe in ordering the food in Dallas when they’re out of town. They need to know that they’ll get the exact same thing. That’s really what they’re selling. Not a GREAT chicken sandwich – a CONSISTENT chicken sandwich.
Consistency is important for your business, too.
Of course products and services need to be delivered the same way each time, but marketing also benefits from consistency.
A consistent marketing message attracts a consistent customer type. When the customers are the same, products and services can be tailored to fit that particular type.
For instance, an accountant who consistently attracts customers who understand the basics of accounting and all use QuickBooks, can scale his business faster. He can build repeatable systems into his business because he is dealing with the same level of customer over and over.
If one day he had someone who kept their records in a shoebox and the next day he had a business like Chick-fil-A, he’d be starting over every time. Each client would be truly unique. But by funneling all his prospects through an automated marketing and sales system, he can select which client type he wants and speak only to them.
I often find when I skip steps in my marketing and sales process I have “problem” clients. For someone else they would be a great client. But they don’t fit my system and I should have know that long before we started working together. In fact, if my marketing was doing its job, they should never have contacted me. They would have realized I wasn’t their guy and moved on to find someone else.
An inconsistent marketing message reveals itself all throughout a company. From “problem” customers to a low referral rate. Many issues can be traced back to inconsistencies in marketing.