What makes a customer, do business with you, once, twice or several times and then suddenly, choose to do business elsewhere?
What almost keeps a customer in business?
It’s good old consistency!
There is a lack of consistency that sneaks up in every business if you allow it to come and make camp in yours.
It will scare your customers away.
A Customer Visit to a Barber
A friend who went to visit a barber.
On their first meeting, he says he received one of the best haircuts he has ever had.
The barber used scissors exclusively, never resorting to electric shears as many others do. Before cutting his hair, he insisted on washing them, explaining the washing made the cutting easier.
During the haircut, one of his assistants made sure his cup of coffee was fresh. In all, the experience was delightful.
He made an appointment to return.
Delightful experience ruined
However, when he came back, everything has changed.
Instead of using the scissors exclusively he used the shears 50 percent of the time. He not only didn’t wash his hair but never even mentioned it. The assistants did bring him his cup of coffee, but only once, never to return. Nonetheless, the haircut again was excellent.
Several weeks later, he returned for a third appointment.
This time, the barber did wash his hair, but after cutting it, preliminary to the final trim. This time, he again used scissors exclusively, but, unlike the first two times, no coffee was served, although he did ask if he would like a glass of wine.
At first, he thought it might be the assistant’s day off, but she soon appeared, busily working with the inventory near the front of the shop. He said as he was living that day, something in him, decided not to go back.
It Certainly Wasn’t the Haircut – He Did An Excellent Job.
It wasn’t the barber.
He was pleasant, easy to talk too, seemed to know his business. It was something more essential than that.
There was absolutely no consistency to the experience.
There is a psychological word for this “Burnt Child Syndrome.” This is where when a child is alternately punished and rewarded for the same kind of behavior. This form of behavior in a parent can be disastrous to the child; he never knows what to expect or to act.
It can also be devastating to the customer. The “Burnt Child,” of course, has no choice but to stay with the parent. But the “Burnt Customer” can go someplace else. And he will.
How to Beat It
It doesn’t have to be hard.
A fresh cup of coffee, washing the hair before the trimming and scissors exclusively. Three things would have kept my friend around, and win business for the barber every time.
What the barber did was to give him a delightful experience and then take it away.
Thinking about your business, keep those simple things consistency, the one you customer didn’t expect and can repeat the experience with every visit.
What you do in your business is not as nearly as important as doing what you do the same way, same time and every time.