What can the small business owner learn from eating breakfast in a hotel in Bali?

In one of the many places offering homestay accommodation in Bali, the breakfast is served every morning on quests’ verandas. The choice is very little, there are only 3 options: pancakes, an omelette or rice. It’s OK though, I’m not too fussy and the food is tasty. 
What annoys me is the fact that the breakfast has been served a little bit differently every time. First the rice came on its own, next day with a small egg on the side, and today I could find small bits of chicken inside. I didn’t mind the egg yesterday but the chicken was simply too much. 
Someone might argue that it was an additional benefit and a nice touch from the owner and therefore I should be grateful. It’s not that I’m not adventurous but I simply don’t eat meat.

This made me think.

As a customer I like to know what to expect and what I’m paying for. It would be great if I could choose additional things to come with my breakfast but I don’t like to be forced into the options. 
Leave surprises for the Christmas presents. 
Big brands understood it a long time ago. That’s why they put great effort into making sure that a McBurger bought in the Tokyo Metro and Paris outskirts tastes exactly the same, every Starbucks in the world has a fast and reliable WiFi and all flight attendants who work on Qatar Airlines are super nice and wear the same uniforms.

We, small business owners should learn from the big boys. Keep it simple and keep it the same for all. Consistency is the key.

It doesn’t mean you cannot add extra flavour or a personal touch but your core service should always be the same, regardless of the time of day, season or funds available on your customer’s credit card.
For a personal trainer it would mean treating the last customer of the day as well as the first one. For a small artisan coffee shop making sure your product always tastes and smells the same even if this is reflected in a higher price. For a fitness class instructor — sticking to a structure that works.

Remember, it takes ages to get people to like and value your business but you are only as good as your last service or product. One bad experience can ruin all the hard work. Don’t allow that to happen. 
People are creatures of habit and they value high quality, consistency and professionalism. Your job is to deliver.

Guess what, I haven’t ordered rice again…


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This article was originally posted on my blog.