The Personal MBA

Master the Art of Business

A world-class business education in a single volume. Learn the universal principles behind every successful business, then use these ideas to make more money, get more done, and have more fun in your life and work.

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What Is 'Predictability'?

Predictability means providing exactly what the customer expects. Unexpected surprises are only good as long as you provide what the customer is looking for. Predictability increases the perceived quality of your offering.

Josh Kaufman Explains 'Predictability'

Aaron Shira, one of my best friends growing up, Bootstrapped a painting company with his brother, Patrick, in Columbus, Ohio. Shira Sons Painting specializes in large-scale painting projects—they’ve painted universities, military bases, mega-churches, and multi-million dollar homes. Starting with nothing, they’re now the preferred painting company for several general contractors in the Columbus area.

How did two young guys break into a competitive contracting market against painting contractors who have been in business longer than they’ve been alive? Simple: when you hire them, you can be absolutely certain the job will be done right and on time.

Contractors are notoriously unpredictable: they often show up late, take too long, do sloppy work, and have bad attitudes. The secret of Aaron and Pat’s success is Predictability — they do great work every single time, deliver on schedule, and they’re always pleasant to work with. As a result, they’re booked solid — an impressive achievement, particularly in a soft construction market.

When purchasing something of value, customers want to know exactly what they can expect — they want their experience to be predictable. Unexpected surprises can provide a customer with a great experience, but if you’re not able to deliver what the customer expects in a predictable manner, it doesn’t matter how many bonuses you offer. People love pleasant surprises, but they hate to be caught off-guard.

There are three primary factors that influence the predictability of an offer: uniformity, consistency, and reliability.

Uniformity

Uniformity means delivering the same characteristics every time. Coca-Cola was one of the first large companies to combine solid marketing with product uniformity. No one wants their favorite soda to taste different every time they drink it.

Product uniformity in the beverage industry is an astounding feat: creating, bottling, and distributing soda is an incredibly complex logistical process. A little too much sugar or flavoring, slightly more air, or an introduction of unintended bacteria can drastically alter the final product.

When you open a can of Coke, you expect exactly the same product as you had the last time, no matter where you are. If even 1% of the cans of Coca-Cola sold were flat, people would quickly learn and stop buying.

Consistency

Consistency means delivering the same value over time. One of the reason’s “New Coke” failed in the mid-1980s is that customers expected Coke to taste a certain way, and the company delivered something completely new under the same name. Violating consistency lead to a swift decline in sales, followed by a swift increase when the Coca-Cola Company restored the original formula.

Violating the expectations of loyal customers is not the way to success—if you’re offering something completely different, present it as something new.

Reliability

Reliability means being about to count on delivery of the value without error or delay. Ask Microsoft Windows users what they hate most about their computers, and they’ll always tell you “system crashes.” Unreliability is a huge frustration for a user, particularly when predictability is at a premium. How would you feel if you’re building a house and a contractor doesn’t show up on time?

Improving predictability has major reputation and value-perception benefits. The more predictable your standard offering is, the more you'll be able to increase the perceived quality of the products and the services that you offer.

Questions About 'Predictability'


"I have always believed that for a product or service to thrive, it must deliver quality. A fine product or service is its own best selling point."

Victor Kiam, former owner of Remington and the New England Patriots football team


From Chapter 4:

Value Delivery


https://personalmba.com/predictability/



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The Personal MBA

Master the Art of Business

A world-class business education in a single volume. Learn the universal principles behind every successful business, then use these ideas to make more money, get more done, and have more fun in your life and work.

Buy the book:


About Josh Kaufman

Josh Kaufman is an acclaimed business, learning, and skill acquisition expert. He is the author of two international bestsellers: The Personal MBA and The First 20 Hours. Josh's research and writing have helped millions of people worldwide learn the fundamentals of modern business.

More about Josh Kaufman →