Competition is fierce in today’s economy and consumers know this. They can easily search the Internet to find companies that sell similar products or services at competitive prices. That’s why companies need to differentiate themselves by providing personalized and rewarding service that leverages the unique value of all customer touch points AND effectively marketing themselves and doing so. If done well, an organization can transform customer service into a competitive advantage, to use it to turn a buyer into a customer for life.
While the type of service provided may vary the fundamental basics behind exceptional service that result in positive experiences remain the same. Take, for example, the automotive industry, which has turned
into one of the most competitive businesses anywhere.
The industry has traditionally been structured around product as opposed to service; however, there is a growing opportunity for both product and service-oriented businesses to differentiate their service offering. Imagine the car buyer of the future is automatically provided a five-year full maintenance contract that puts the onus for all service activities on the car dealer. That is, it will be the vendor’s responsibility to manage the contract and warranties and to proactively contact the customer via the channel of the customer’s choice (email, phone, or text) when a particular service is required—say, an oil change or tire rotation. Every three months, the customer gets an email reminding him of his next maintenance activity. The customer can easily click on the “schedule appointment” link provided in the email and select a day and time that works best for him. The day before his appointment, the customer receives an automated voicemail reminding him of his appointment. When the customer brings in his car, the vendor greets him by name and the car is quickly serviced. With valuable personalized service like this, where do you think the customer will tell his family, his friends, his co-workers to go when they are ready to buy a new car?
This can be applied to almost every business. The key is to give the consumer something they WANT, yes. But give them something someone else might not give them and you’ll win them over. Don’t you think?