My wife called me recently and said, “I’m in line at McDonald’s and this is the slowest service I have ever seen!” I don’t know if that McDonald’s had a particular problem that morning or what the specifics were behind the counter. However, what I do know is that my wife, who happens to like McDonald’s coffee, found the service experience to be distinctly different, in a negative way, compared to what she’s used too.
McDonald’s generally nails their value proposition operationally on a pretty consistent basis. The point is that companies often undermine their competitive advantage by not thinking through the entire value chain of how they deliver on their promises to their target audience. That is a problem, probably not for McDonald’s generally, but certainly for a lot of companies that are promoting or promising a certain kind of experience. For example, any number of banks, when you’re actually in branch, deliver a very different experience than what was promised by the smiling faces on the TV ads.
This is a disconnect that is simply and truly a failure to connect the dots.
This is especially true if you’re going ‘toe to toe’ with an arch nemesis (aka the competitor who is most like you) in the space where you most need to stand out. This happens with large companies and especially and ironically happens to small businesses where there are only 5-10 people who have to know what the corporate promises are – and they can’t even get those straight. These promises could be the salesman’s or the owner’s or your website’s.
- Have you looked at whether your promises are being backed-up by the organization that you represent? In the way that your customers have been lead to believe?
- Is everyone in your company really conscious and connected to what your operational promises are?
Do your operations really reflect your advertising?
Whether or not you are a high customer service level organization like Nordstrom’s or a mass marketer and low cost provider like Wal-Mart or a local bank serving a smaller community – connect the dots between message and execution. Failure to do so is more than a failure to communicate – it will become a failure to deliver. Customers become ex-customers when that happens.
About the Author: Jose Palomino is President of g2m Group, Inc, and author of Value Prop; he blogs at StrategicPropositions.com. Jose helps business leaders take their ideas, products and services to market with greater consistency, speed and impact. He has worked extensively with industry leaders including IBM, SAP, Accenture, Chase and Citicorp. A proven strategist, dealmaker and presenter, Jose makes strategic marketing practical and immediately usable. With an MBA from Villanova University, he serves as President of the Executive MBA Alumni Association and is also a Vistage International Speaker.