Quality and price are two criteria for consumers when making a purchasing decision. So it is that most businesses compete by matching the quality and prices of their products and services.
What too many businesses fail to realize, however, is that there is a third criteria: customer service. How you treat your customers will determine whether or not they will continue to do business with you or turn to one of your competitors. If you reduce your prices, your competitors will copy you within hours. If you add a new product, they will do likewise. A service strategyâ€”a focus on providing an exceptional customer experienceâ€”is the only strategy you can implement that will give you a 10-year lead over your competitors.
I can literally count on one hand the number of businesses that excel at customer serviceâ€”and that have, as a result, shattered their competition. Three of those companies are Amazon, Southwest Airlines, and Metro Bank UK. All three offer quality products and services at competitive prices, but what really sets them apart is their focus on providing their customers with superior customer service. They know it is that service that distinguishes their organizations and that keeps customers coming back to them. They have focused not only on innovation but on customer service, as well.
They donâ€™t have to spend millions of dollars in advertising and marketing each year to draw customers through their doors, whether those doors are physical or virtual. The increased sales their customer service brings in, combined with the money they save in advertising costs, make for very healthy profits.
There is no reason that other organizations canâ€™t be equally successful if they create a culture based on service. How do you do that? Take these four steps:
John Tschohl, the internationally recognized service strategist, is founder and president of the Service Quality Institute in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Described by USA Today, Time, and Entrepreneur as â€œcustomer service guru,â€ he has written several books on customer service and has developed more than 26 customer-service training programs that have been distributed throughout the world. Johnâ€™s monthly strategic newsletter is available online.
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