You can provide great products and services.  You can provide great customer service.  You can market your products brilliantly.  But if you cannot consistently meet the needs of your clients, it will not matter.  Your clients need to know that they can depend on you to get their job done.

If you are a retailer, your customers need to know that you will have the products they need every time they visit.  “Most” of the time is not good enough—if customers and clients cannot depend on you to meet their needs, they will go elsewhere… regardless of how high your level of service may be. I have worked with plenty of business owners who have learned this the hard way for themselves!

So how can you ensure a high level of consistency? One important step you can take is to eliminate excuses from your company culture.

To keep your business running smoothly, it is important that everyone on your team executes their responsibilities properly.  And to make that happen, your team must understand that excuses are unacceptable.  Great businesses find a way to get the job done, regardless of the obstacles they may face.  Below are several ways to eliminate excuses from your company culture:

  1. Plan for contingencies.  The best way to eliminate excuses is to make sure that each employee has everything they need to get the job done.  That may mean having spare parts on hand, or it may mean giving an employee longer than necessary to get a job done in order to allow for challenges that arise. Plan for things to go wrong, because sooner or later they will!

  1. Encourage innovation.  From time to time, unexpected obstacles appear. We’ve all been there!  Emphasize the importance of creative problem solving.  There is a solution for every problem—but it may take creativity and ingenuity to make it happen. Work with your employees to create a habit of innovation so that they’re prepared when they run into a challenge.

  1. Lead by example.  Do whatever it takes to meet your own obligations.  If that means staying late, coming in early, working through lunch, or whatever—show that you will not stop until the job is done right.  Not only will employees understand that you are serious about meeting deadlines—they will naturally strive to follow your example because they will be able to see the value you place on always getting the job done. On the flip side, if they see you making excuses, they are going to do the same!

Excuses can poison a great business.  The bottom line is that your customers expect consistency from you—you need to deliver.  Teach your employees to plan, innovate, and to get creative when necessary.  Do not accept excuses—because your customers won’t!