Friday, February 11, 2011

Eliminate the Competition

One of the hardest problems to tackle in business is what to do when you sell products you can’t change in any way. It’s a difficult problem, yes…but it has a simple, highly effective and low cost solution.
You see this all the time.  You prefer eating at one certain Burger King over others even though the Whopper must be served identically at every franchise.  There are two different pharmacies across the street from one another yet you find you shop only at one of them…even though your insurance coverage makes the price the same at either one.  You stop at the same gas station every week even though the other three stations on the corner sell gas at the same price.
Why?   Most likely, it’s because the managers of these stores have changed the one part of their product that they absolutely can affect:  the customer’s service.
We all have competition, even in public sector agencies such as city  government or utility companies. Rising prices in typical household expenses (insurance, food, fuel, etc.) compete with us for each dollar we charge our customers for our services.  To maintain your fiscal health, every company must eventually raise their prices in response to various pressures such as inflation, regulatory requirements, etc.   We must constantly communicate our value to the customer to prove that we have earned this additional funding.   
Regardless of your business, you can “eliminate the competition” by making every interaction with your customer a remarkable one!  In this light, outstanding customer service is the best investment you can possibly make.  Think about it this way, a water utility company could spend a million dollars improving water quality and there is a very good chance that not a single customer would even notice.  Teaching your employees to smile at customers and treat them with personal care and concern doesn’t have to cost you a dime! 
Remember:  The product you sell is more than just the product.  It’s also interaction between your staff and the customer.  Create bright lines of distinction between yourselves and your competition by delivering superior customer service every day!  It’s highly effective and the price (free) is right for the times!

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