Is Keeping it Fresh, Mixing You Up?

Consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds.”
—Ralph Waldo Emerson


A lot of businesses I’ve worked with are procedure-avoidant. Is it a fear of the difficulty of writing processes down? A desire to “mix it up” or “keep it fresh”? Are they worried about the hobgoblin?

You can’t afford the fear of having a procedural manual, graphic and interiors standards, an employee website—whatever your size firm needs to stay utterly consistent. Call it a roadmap, as we do at VisionPoints. You can’t go forward without clear, written processes. Your day-to-day processes may bore you if you do them the same way every day, but to your customers, that is top-of-the-mind gold.

It Is the Little Things That Count

Think back: When was the last time you went to a restaurant where water was on the table, without your requesting it, and refilled when empty or close, without requesting it? For me it’s been over a year since that happened! I don’t go to the “very best” places daily (though I do occasionally). This is something the very medium-est places could do with little expense and provide delight to their customers. These days water on the table at a restaurant without having to ask is so unusual as to be remarkable; so (a) do it and (b) do it always, in the same way. You will be remembered for it.

At the Panorama Motel, there are procedures to make sure they get the pen in just the same place every time on the desk, and the pillows turned the exact same way each time. Some hotels make sure there are chocolates on the pillow; some turn down your sheets at a precise time daily.

How about on the phone? When answering the phone, have a written procedure right in front of your receptionist—no errors, no “umm”s, no worries if someone else has to fill in. So much more professional, memorable, remarkable!

Free to Overpromise and Overdeliver

  • Your written procedures

… offer consistency and clarity to your employees, reducing stress and man-hours. If it’s all “so easy a monkey could do it,” then everyone knows what’s expected and can operate with fewer question marks above their heads. Staff is freed to get creative about delivering exceptional Experiences for your customers.

  • Your standards manual

… offers visual consistency so decisions about new materials, ads, and additions to your physical space are no-brainers: Do a new, brash ad in a youth magazine? Let’s see if it fits with the plan. Finishes for the new signage? Keep them in line with the overall vision.

Little minds in business fly by the seat of their pants, wasting time and money. That’s the true hobgoblin. Consistency is the Good Witch of progressive thinking in business, freeing staff and management for bigger issues.

Embrace written procedures. Involve your staff, and get started creating yours now, to grow your business and create awareness of your consistently great (Maximum!) Customer Experience.

What procedures could help your firm most? Share your ideas for creating customer loyalty through consistent procedures here!

Grow and be well,

Kelly Erickson