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Wednesday / May 22.
HomemibusinessService Not Enough to Succeed in Business

Service Not Enough to Succeed in Business

Good customer service is the starting point for business growth, not the end goal. Sales and marketing specialist John Lees argues that to succeed, your business should be ‘achieving for customers’, rather than just attending to them.

I spoke to a business owner recently and he believes, quite correctly I am sure, that he offers much better service than his competitors and, therefore, he is confident that service is the main weapon in building his business. Put another way, he is dependent on his rivals performing badly in their service efforts… and that is a very tenuous and risky stance for any business.

If being better at service means that the market beats a path to your door, then by all means, make hay while the sun shines. However, one of the most important edicts in business, as in sport, is that it pays to imagine that your competitors are nothing less than Titans in all operational areas…for to think otherwise will reduce your inclination to strive for meaningful competitive edges. In my view, ‘service’ should not be considered as a meaningful competitive edge, for these reasons:

  • In every market, service is no more than a ‘customer entitlement’, remembering that service is almost always built into the price of the services we charge for and the products we sell. Service includes courtesy, pleasantness, reliability, accessibility, punctuality and a problem-solving attitude; hence the saying, ‘he orshe who cannot smile, should not keep shop’.
  • To customers and patients, service is simply a means to an end. It is a process to be enjoyed or endured on the way to achieving a satisfactory ‘personal’ result. Put another way, the measure of you is not what happens when you are serving customers or patients, over the phone or in person; it is what happens when they leave you and live with the results of your work on their behalf, which involves much more than being nice during the transaction process.
  • Many businesses want to provide good service to customers and patients, but they neglect to develop the same commitment to the ways in which their employees are treated (‘served’)…and so imagine how enthusiastic the staff are to serve at the highest levels.
  • If you do offer much better service than your competitors, then be specific about your key points of positive difference, because people are not moved by general promises that they would have expected to receive anyway.

Service is all about ‘attending to customers’, whereas the greatest business challenge is all about ‘achieving for customers’. If a business cannot or will not do this, then customers will not get more out of us in the form of ideas and good advice…and we will not get more out of them in income!

Integrity + Intelligence

An interesting business lesson is that service equals integrity – in the form of undivided, high standards of ‘transacting’ with customers. It is something that customers should expect from any business. Success, on the other hand, relates to intelligence that is given freely and fluently to customers, so as to create the best possible results, therefore ‘transcending’ what customers expect.

…one of the most important edicts in business, as in sport,
is that it pays to imagine that your competitors are
nothing less than titans..

We should all be aware of two other critical facts:

  • If a business does not operate with integrity when engaging in service,it will not be allowed by customers to offer intelligence. Put another way, the manner in which we serve customers will see to it that we succeed or fail in selling ourselves, and if customers do not buy us, they will never want or agree to buy our ideas.
  • If a business does operate with integrity when engaging in service, it duly arrives at the starting line of business development… not the finishing line. In other words, offering good service will mean that we are considered a ‘market-driven’ business. We then must rise to the higher level of becoming a business that earns the reputation of being a ‘market-driver’… a leader in the creation of better results for people.

Customers talk to each other all the time about bad service but rarely about good service, however every customer likes to talk about businesses that add value to them… beyond service.

John Lees is a sales and marketing specialist, providing services as a speaker, trainer and consultant. He is the author of 11 books on business development. Web site: www.johnlees.com.au Email address: [email protected]