When starting any business it has long been considered common practice to complete comprehensive competitor analysis within your target sector. It’s hugely important to gain a firm understanding of your competition in order to develop your own unique selling proposition. Many also use this exercise to help develop the business identity and lay the foundations for setting the business apart from the masses. However, it is also important not to forget, as many others do, that your competitors are not your biggest source of competition.
Let me explain…
The majority of your lost sales won’t go to one of your competitors; they won’t in fact go anywhere. They simply choose to go nowhere!
Recently, I was taking my regular long drive down the coast to visit family and on the way I realised I had forgotten to pack my lunch. It would be hours before I reached my destination so I decided to take the time to pull over for something to eat at a nice looking public house I spotted just off the main road. As I walked in the door I was instantly greeted by a polite and well-presented hostess who showed me a selection of available tables allowing me to choose my favourite. Once seated she handed me a small handwritten menu and as I asked “is this everything” she smiled and said “That’s our set menu but if you fancy something else I’m sure we can cook something up for you as we make everything fresh”.
As I was seated alone the hostess came back over to see if there was anything else I needed and struck up a conversation about my journey and advised me how I could perhaps shave 20 minutes from my normal route. This certainly kept me entertained until my food arrived which I found to be first class which could also be applied to the service I received.
Ever since that very first experience, when making this trip I always aim to pay them an additional visit and I have even detoured to them on other journeys as I always receive the same great service. It may only be a small thing but I’m even on a first name basis with the manager and several members of the staff which makes me feel my custom is really appreciated. There are no other restaurants or food stops in the area so I am not choosing this particular restaurant over one of its competitors; I am choosing to go there instead of taking my own food which is what I had always done previously.
It was this experience that made me realise the importance of not underestimating the consequences of customer apathy.
Long term relationships are the key to success
Most customers won’t leave or chose not to go with a business because they are unhappy with or dislike the service or products they offer. They make this decision because they are indifferent to the business and its brand values; they receive little or no customer engagement and experience a distinct lack of excitement or buzz about what they offer. This general lack of empathy for a business will therefore never have the potential to develop into a long term relationship.
After my positive experiences of how a business should conduct its customer service strategy, I couldn’t agree with this more.
An effective customer service strategy could help…
I have a passion for customer service and it is this passion that leads me toward promoting the virtues of outsourcing work to virtual services such as telephone answering or a virtual PA, as it is these services that provide businesses with an affordable way to ensure their overall customer experience is always at its best.
They will be there for your customers 24/7 handling any number of calls simultaneously all being picked up within seconds by a professional operator trained and ready to help with your customers every need. Not only do they allow you to offer your customers 24 hour support they can be on hand throughout the day giving you and your employees the time they need to take care of your customers, who really are your biggest competition!
As Walt Disney said;
“You can dream, create, design and build the greatest place in the world, but it takes people to make the dream a reality.”
That is a fact.