Can Consistency Become the Basis of Poor Service?

Mike Schoultz
2 min readDec 17, 2020

If we don’t take care of our customers, someone else will.

Here’s an easy way to make your company stand out from the rest.

It’s called consistency.

But not all companies understand the difference between consistency and foolish consistency.

In my town, there’s a grocery store that exemplifies this. It’s a nice grocery store. They offer quality products, friendly staff, decent prices, and the store is clean and well maintained. I do 95% of my grocery shopping there.

But they’re not perfect. Not even close. Every time I go there, I get asked the same question:

“Did you find everything you were looking for?”

This seems like a good question to ask. But it’s not. The person who asks this question is the cashier. They ask me as I roll my cart up to their cash register and get ready to checkout. What they seem to miss is, when I walk up to the cash register, it means I’m done shopping.

So, why ask me if I found everything?

If I didn’t find everything, it doesn’t matter because I’m not going to take the time now to go get it. Besides, does the cashier really want to delay everyone in their line to go find something I couldn’t? I doubt it.

If I did find everything I was looking for, then the question is irrelevant. Either way, it’s a useless question, the way it’s asked.

The time to ask this question is when people are STILL SHOPPING. That’s when you can actually help them. Once they’re done shopping, you’re not helping them.

Why do they ask this question at the cash register?

Probably some consultant said they should. Since they heard it from a highly paid consultant, they do it. Worse, they continue to do it without thinking.

Actually, they do think about it. I have asked several of their employees why they always ask the same question. They told me they have secret shoppers. They lose points if they don’t ask the question.

Mike Schoultz

Mike Schoultz writes about improving the performance of business. Bookmark his blog for stories and articles.