When a customer makes a decision to purchase from you, it’s usually based on some belief that your product will meet their needs. It could be your presentation, delivery, reputation, marketing materials or the product itself, but there will be something that causes them to choose you over someone else. They now have a set expectation and you need to deliver.
Every day companies just like yours make a “promise” to their customers in some means or another, and over time customers grow to count on certain things when they interact with your business. Whether you intended to or not, your customers have formulated a “brand promise” about your business.
A little example… I’m a big fan of McDonalds hamburgers. You know, $.89 with ketchup, pickles and onions. I love ‘em. And over time I have grown to expect that hamburger to taste the same way whether I buy one in Anniston, Alabama or Spokane, Washington. To ME it is part of McDonalds’ brand promise of consistently delivering the product, regardless of location. I’ve grown to expect that consistency.
So here is the issue that you face as a leader in a growing business; can you deliver what your customer expects on a consistent basis?
Over the years I’ve witnessed numerous businesses that have grown on the shoulders of strong product quality and innovation, attracting new customers and business along the way. And as these companies got busier they made changes in their successful processes to keep pace with the growing demand – different people, different inputs, different control measures, etc. The risk? Changes in those successful processes lead to decreased quality and chance of failing to deliver on the brand promise… the same promise that brought them success in the first place.
Too many companies have grown aggressively while losing sight of the success factors that brought them there. As your customers formulate their own beliefs in what your brand promise is and the front door starts to swing open more often, keep close watch on quality. The fastest way to destroy your pristine brand promise is by failing to meet customer expectations.
Stay focused on your brand promise, grow carefully and maintain quality and your customers will believe in your business for many years to come.