The most valuable information in your business is that which makes it better. Because it is unlikely that you are the only business entity that offers what you offer, it is all the more critical to ensure that you are providing the best possible service you can. It is in this area of customer service that you can most effectively differentiate yourself from your competition – for better or for worse.

You could go to the trouble of a large double-blind study of a statistically significant customer base. Of course, this costs a lot of money, takes a lot of time and can often take feedback out of context, rendering it less effective.

So I suggest you simply ask ten current clients what they like about what you do for them. If you study their collective answers, you will find that your value proposition is embedded in them.

Then go beyond that question and ask what they love about what you do. This will often yield your greatest competitive advantage.

Then ask what they would like you to do differently, either in products or in service. Be open to the answer, because it may come as a surprise. Herein lies a great source of growth potential.

If they are still engaged and willing, ask your current customers what they want, need and require to operate their business… and how they would ideally like those services delivered. Do not assume you know the answers; this is a great strategic learning opportunity.

Once you have this information collected, mull it over. Share it with your team, from the person who answers the phone to the person making sales calls. The more informed your team is, the better able they will be to keep your customers happy. And remember: no two customers are the same, so don’t treat them as if they were. What one customer loves another may not value at all… or even avoid. A customized service experience based on a strong and sincere relationship will keep competition at bay.

Remember to thank your customers regularly for the opportunity to do business with them. Thank them for the feedback that they provide (positive and negative) that makes your business better.

re-S.H.A.P.E. your business.
Clifford Bailey

This entry was posted on Monday, September 13th, 2010 at 12:00 pm and is filed under Effectiveness, S.H.A.P.E.. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.