One thing that frustrates all of us is uncertainty and unpredictability. Even when we want a new adventure and discovering something new, we still look forward to finding out what’s going to happen next. It’s just the way most of us are built.

When we are exposed to uncertainty on a regular basis, our anxiety goes up, our stress goes up, and we seek some way to avoid this continuing. If you think of this in terms of your customers, this isn’t a good thing. If your customers are presented with uncertainties and confusion on a regular basis, they too get anxious, frustrated, and eventually leave to find somewhere that doesn’t cause this to happen.

I call this “Random Acts of Excellence and Chaos.” It’s where your customer experience is unpredictable from day to day, person to person, so it causes your customers to be anxious… and ultimately leave.

I happened to be traveling to southern California a short time ago and had the “opportunity” to go into Macy’s in Costa Mesa CA, near Newport Beach. I usually dread going into Macy’s for a variety of reasons, many of which I’m sure some of you have experienced. One of which is that there is no one around to help you if you need some guidance so it is like shopping online, only you’re in a store. AFter wandering around for a while, you what you’re looking for, decide if you like it (without asking any questions), and then go try and find a checkout line to pay for it. Sound familiar?

However, this time full demonstrated the concept of “Random Acts of Excellence and Chaos” perfectly. This visit was different. I went to the mall with my wife since she was looking for a “mother of the bride” dress for our daughters upcoming wedding. While she was shopping, I chose to wander around the mall since it is a very “high-end” mall that caters to a very distinct class of customer. These weren’t the usual stores found in your typical mall… this mall had stores like Bloomingdales, Sax Fifth Avenue, Dior, and every other high-end luxury store you can think of… most of which I have never heard of before. I always know I’m in the wrong place when you walk by stores where there are 20 purses filling an entire store and guards in the front of the store door to greet you. These stores obviously carry a hefty price tag for their goods.

But as I wandered around looking for a coffee shop to grab an Americano while I was waiting for my wife to finish her shopping (or looking), I spotted a sign for a Starbucks. Interestingly enough, it was located on the top floor of the Macy’s store… a weird location from my perspective. So I took the escalators up three floors to the top and grabbed my coffee.

Since I was in Macy’s, I thought I would check out the one thing I have bought from them in recent years… Tommy Bahama clothes. They are one of the stores that carry their products and often times have sales on some of their clothing. I love Tommy Bahama quality and fit so I usually check them out if I happen to be in a Macy’s store. While going down the escalator I spotted a couple of employees (rare find) stocking a rack so I went up and asked them if they could direct me to the men’s section, specifically the Tommy Bahama section. One of the two ladies in particular was very friendly and seemed quite willing to help me out. She explained that in this particular mall, Macy’s actually had 3 stores… a women’s, men’s, and home goods store. All I could think about was how much merchandise this must be for them to inventory. She told me the men’s store wasn’t in this store and was down the mall a little way.