5 Ways to Beat Your Competition
Lately I have been thinking a lot about “best practices” for smaller businesses. There are a lot of different tips and tricks, but I think this article in HVACR Business really nailed it.
The emphasis of the article is that in tough economic times ”you cannot always compete on price, but you can compete on service.” Ed Hess, author of Growing an Entrepreneurial Business: Concepts & Cases and professor at the University of Virginia’s Darden Graduate School of Business gives 11 great tips on how to compete on service. Here are my favorites:
- Provide special training for frontline employees - “Their attitudes, communication skills, and style of service are what your customers are going to associate with your business,” explains Hess. You want to be sure your employees dealing with customers know how to handle all types of situations so that they can provide the best customer service possible. Knowledge is power, so well trained employees are hard to beat competitively.
- Happy employees = Happy customers – An employee who is happy with their work and who cares about the company shows. “Creating that feeling in your employees will pay you back exponentially,” says Hess.
- Compensate for mistakes - You must remember: The customer is always right. Don’t ever allow them to feel shortchanged. Some customers may not even complain, they just won’t use you or recommend your services to others. This can be very damaging, so always do your best to fix your mistakes.
- Always respond quickly - Your customers are busy. They have big concerns of their own. They don’t deserve to be left wondering what kind of service they are going to receive or when they are going to receive it. “Address customer questions and problems as quickly as possible,” says Hess. “Even if it’s just a message to say, ‘I am looking into this for you,’ the customer will appreciate being told where they are in the process.”
- Use technology to provide quick, efficient customer service – It is the twenty-first century and technology is a great tool to take advantage of. It can be a scary first step, but you can find story after story of how technology really does make things easier. For your service company, this could mean making it easy to reach you via your website: make it mobile friendly, put your phone number in big letters, and have people fill out a form for their free estimate! Here is just one example of technology helping a service company provide better service to their customers
Hess concludes the article with this final piece of great advice. “You might not always be able to slash your prices lower than those of your competitors, but you can make the experience of doing business with you superior to all others. Never be afraid to take your customer service up a notch!” Hess’s advice is true even when the economy is good, but we know you already knew that!
to read the full article and gain access to all 11 ways
to compete on service.