Be Consistent and Meet ExpectationsOutside Contributor
A large part of building a brand comes through delivering a consistent customer experience and meeting the expectations your customers have for your company and for the landscape industry.
Consider the now decades old reputation of the “cable guy.” At some point, cable TV operators developed the reputation of being unreliable, not on time and unprofessional. To overcome that reputation, cable companies could only improve their brand by being able to consistently be on time, be professional and meet the basic expectations of their clients.
Strong brands are about trust. Think about the difference between the actual logo for your company and what is behind the meaning of trust. Trust is built between people as a social contract. People develop trust in companies and in people for being able to deliver what they expect, when they expect it and in a manner that is consistent and dependable.
A failure to do what you say you are going to do at the right time and place erodes trust and confidence – and this affects your brand. If you personalize this even further, and consider yourself as the brand, it takes on more meaning. Are you consistent? Do you constantly meet the expectations of your clients?
A critical component to being dependable and consistent is to constantly work on developing procedures and processes. What is your process for handling new inquiries from potential clients? Assume for a moment, you have more than enough business right now and you are not taking on new clients. Do you have a standard process in place for how you will tell prospective customers you are not taking on new clients? Or do you simply not return phone calls? Maybe you need more clients, so what is your process for responding back to potential new clients? Do you know how frustrating it is to hire a professional contractor and they fail to consistently return phone calls, or address concerns?
Being consistent and meeting expectations are critical to building trust, which in turn builds and sustains your brand.
Procedures and processes are critical to creating a strong brand. Consider two well known brands – Coca Cola and McDonalds. How is food and beverage like landscaping? No matter where you travel in the United States, when you have a McDonald’s quarter pound hamburger, or have a Coke, you expect the product to taste the same.
Without consistency, you would have brand erosion. Your satisfied customers will generate more referrals for your business if you are able to develop a complete process from initial contact, through proposals, installations, job site management, invoicing and more that is consistent and can be replicated again and again. Referrals come from customer satisfaction, and people make referrals based on being able to tell others the steps you took to meet and exceed their expectations.
What actions are other people inside and outside your company doing to erode or improve your brand? As the business owner, you may be consistent and meet expectations, but do your employees? How do you know? Do your suppliers provide the type of support and service you require to consistently meet and exceed your customer’s expectations? What about the products you use? Trouble free and long lasting products are a reflection back on you and your brand. Some products may be less expensive, but do they harm your company’s brand?
Building and sustaining a strong brand improves profits because you should be able to command above average pricing for your products and services. So, take a look at your logo, your website and your truck. Are you building a brand by being consistent and constantly exceeding your customer’s expectations, or it is just a snappy logo?
Strive for higher profits by building a long lasting brand. After all, that’s you behind your brand.