Ben Gilman

Consistency - it's all we want, all the time

Want a simple way to keep your customers coming back? Don’t change.

A friend and I get lunch regularly from the same cafe round the corner. Within a few days of first going I branded it as ‘Surly Sandwiches’. The food is good, the prices are better, the service is efficient and you can rest assured that 90% of the time you go there you won’t get a smile from the staff.

Others might find that a poor level of service but for me it represents the pinnacle of consistency - if I’d become accustomed to beaming staff and cheery greetings then I would have been most disappointed the day they failed to hand me a sandwich with a smile. Instead I adjusted my requirements and have them consistently met.

Conversely, set the bar high and you’d best make damn sure you keep leaping it. Hell hath no fury like a person who’s expectations you have failed to meet (catchy). When the usually impeccably courteous staff of John Lewis decided to upset my wife by quibbling over a late delivery, the only way John Lewis could see to fix that little error was to gift us money - an expensive failure to launch.

So, don’t overestimate the importance of being happy. Don’t underestimate the importance of being consistent. Don’t go changing.

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