I am always amazed at the way many professional organizations scare off their prospective and existing clients, while at the same time managers complain about tough competition.
You are messing it up. Many of you do not seem to realize that you have three vectors of differentiation from your competitors:
- Your primary offering of products and services: This is the toughest vector. It is very expensive to stay unique for a long time.
- Customer service: Already easier to distinguish yourself from your competitors. You can improve this vector by setting up online service lines, offering a 24/7 hotline and unlimited access to your knowledge base, etc.
- Customer relations: This is the easiest and least expensive (yet mostly untapped) vector to becoming a leading edge in your industry.
How much do you invest in each of these vectors?
Let me make a suggestion: for the next four weeks, focus on vector #3. No excuses!
Here are some ideas:
- Hotels (no matter how many stars): welcome ALL incoming guests and apologize for any waiting time at check-in. Offer a coffee when guests are checking out.
- Banks: show honest appreciation when a prospective client wants to open an account.
- No matter what your industry, ALWAYS apologize for errors or waiting time before you explain the reasons.
Perhaps you think all this should be obvious, but according to my observation, 90 percent of companies are not doing it. They focus all their efforts on vector #1 and wonder why customers are leaving and they have strong price competition. Are you better? Sure?
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