Consistency is a Floor not a Ceiling

Why do retail brands seek consistency?  You know, consistency in the product or preparation, in the presentation, in the service standards.  Would it not be better if we lived in a “one of a kind” world?

Have you ever heard a customer complain, “I walked into a store and it was awful.  The store was too clean, the shelves too well stocked, the service too friendly and the line too short”? No? That’s because customers come into your stores with expectations. They don’t expect, and don’t want, your sales staff to behave like robots, but they also don’t want to be let down. No one likes a messy store, unlabelled products and unfriendly staff. No-one likes to wait because the store is disorganized, poorly trained or badly run. That is precisely why retail brands seek consistency and why consistency is a floor, not a ceiling.

Consistency is a guarantor of minimum standards.

Consistency ensures that your stores will minimally operate at a certain level that is designed to satisfy your customers, drive your sales and protect your brand. Consistency is a floor, a minimum set of standards that must be met by all. It protects the brand from poor execution and the outliers that might be few and far between but can do so much damage to a brand, particularly in the age of social media.

Consistency does not have to be a ceiling.

A district manager won’t take exception to your staff being too friendly or too helpful with a customer. She won’t complain that the seasonal program was too well executed or your store was too adequately staffed. Every retailer knows and understands that every store can and should be wonderfully unique in some respects. Seeking consistency does not mean you turn your store staff into pre-programmed robots. It doesn’t mean you can’t reach for the moon and exceed standards.

Consistency protects the brand from the outliers, the racers to the bottom, the usurpers of a brand’s reputation. It does not impede excellence in execution, great customer service and the uniqueness of each retail location. 

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