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20 Days to Build a Better Business: Day 20 Be Consistent

20 Days To A Better Business

20 weeks ago we began a journey. Over the last 20 weeks we have focused on one idea that you can apply to  build yourself a better business. These short, actionable posts show you the steps you need to take to take your business to the next level.

In case you’ve missed the previous posts in the series you can catch up here: 20 Days to Build A Better Business.

This is Day 20: Be Consistent

As a business owner providing excellent service is one of the most difficult things to do on a consistent basis, especially when you have staff.

This is a story inspired by a stay in a hotel over a number of weeks.

Whatever the level of budget there are some things that the customer will always expect, whether that’s a budget hotel or a high end boutique hotel and that is being clean and a comfortable night’s sleep.

After that, the level of service, size of room, view etc will vary according to your budget.

On a regular basis I have stayed in a small (7 roomed) privately owned hotel. It is a good value, centrally located and convenient for visiting my client.  They have some nice decorative touches which makes the room look attractive and a large widescreen TV.

There is a bottle of water provided in the room, which is welcome change for having to pay high price mini bar prices. Or rather they sometimes provide a bottle of water. Somedays there will be a bottle of water in the room sometimes there won’t.

The service is inconsistent.

Similarly they provide an amenity kit in the bathroom little bottles of shampoo, shower gel and moisturiser and soap. Or  should I say sometimes there is soap. On at least 3 out of 4 of my last visits to the hotel the amenity kit was there, minus the soap.

Annoying if you didn’t have any packed.

Little things create negative impressions and stop people coming back.

One of the easiest things to do to improve your customer service is get the basics right.  Here’s how:

Checklists

Checklists are over looked tools and far from depersonalise service they improve customer services.  I recall one study which showed that when hospital operating theatres introduced checklists for operations, patient survival rate increased.  Think of businesses that give excellent customer service, you can be sure that they are run on checklists.

If the hotel I stayed in had checklists then each room would have it’s own checklist detailing all of the activities which would need to happen to clean and layout that room on a daily/weekly/monthly basis.

It would include the number of products for the mini bar, numbers of biscuits, tea and coffee sachets as well as the layout and position of the tea/coffee making facilities.

When businesses provide routine services (whatever industry or business you are in) it’s easy to forget or overlook things which people do on auto pilot. It’s human nature to make short cuts, especially when you’re busy and before you know it the standard of service starts to slip.

Advantages of checklists:

#1 Consistency of service – allows the service you deliver to a customer to be the same whatever the day of the week it’s carried out, no matter how tired you are. The customer will always get the same standard of service.

#2 Reduced costs – checklists can reduce costs because it’s not uncommon for people to take home with them biscuits that they’ve not eaten or tea/coffee sachets. By specifying in the checklist the number of sachets or biscuits included in the room, the costs are minimised.

#3 Reduced Training Time – when new staff start it’s easy to ensure that the new members of staff are ‘on-boarded’ quickly and efficiently and a checklist will ensure that they new member of staff is fully trained to the standard expected by the business.

Your Task

Think about what aspects of your business you can turn into a checklist to improve the quality and standards of your service provision.

Have you used checklists? Please share your thoughts in the comments section below.

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