My wife and I went to the Utah Symphony’s recent performance of Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition. It is one of my favorite classical music pieces — I first purchased it on cassette tape in 1986 — and I was not disappointed.
It is a moving piece of music; but only if the conductor and all the musicians are playing from the same sheet of music.
They were, it was great.
That principle applies in business and if it is disregarded, there can be disastrous consequences.
Some months ago I was looking for a new car. We no longer had need for the 2001 Honda van we purchased nearly 17 years and 200,000 miles ago. I asked my dad about who we should talk to as he spent decades in the automotive industry here in Utah. He told me to go see a particular man he knew personally at a well-known dealership. So I did.
I asked for the man at his dealership and he was kind enough to spend a few minutes with me. He even delayed a planned lunch meeting and I appreciated that. He told me he was giving me the absolute best price he could on the car and left me with the numbers. I told him I needed to speak with my wife before I made a decision.
I left quite pleased that he would take the time for me. I liked the car’s exterior color, its performance and comfort, and the red stitching on the seats and throughout the cabin. It had been a good experience for me; to that point.
I returned home and looked up the car on the dealer’s website to show my wife. Much to my surprise and consternation the very car I had just looked at was listed there for $1,500.00 less than the “absolute best price” the owner had told me just an hour before.
Somewhere in the flow of the business-communication symphony there were people playing from different pieces of music. I don’t know where the disconnect happened. It could have been the owner’s rush to get to his scheduled lunch meeting or it could have been the internet sales manager’s incorrectly stating a number. But it really doesn’t matter to me, the consumer, where the disconnect happened.
The effect was complete disconnection between the dealership and me.
The communications presented by the dealership were no longer trustworthy. The mixed messages took their credibility. Credibility that had been decades in the making from when the owner and my father had worked together.
I will never set foot in that dealership again. There are approximately 30 dealers of that particular car in Utah. Why would I go back to a business that failed so epically when there are others that can do a better job?
Is everyone in your company communicating from the same sheet of music? Are the consequences of not communicating clear?
Your customers are just like you and I. They want a consistent experience with consistently communicated messages. Give them what they want.