I have bad news. There are new competitors to our small business in town. They are well capitalized, have ten times the marketing budgets we have and our clients love them. Who are they? Google, Southwest Airlines, Wal-Mart and Apple.
Silly you say? Who is going to purchase construction from Google, estimating services from Southwest, facility management from Wal-Mart or Butler Buildings from Apple? No one. What they are going to receive from these organizations are superb experiences. The problem? These experiences translate into, “Why can’t you do that for me at EDiS?” And I’m, warning you, they are gunning for you next!
How long does it take you to get a response from Google? Well, the next time your clients call with a question, you had better respond with Google like speed and accuracy. What does your response time look like? How well researched are your people? How well versed in your business is your receptionist? Remember, you don’t have to hit # to get an answer from Google.
How can Southwest get passengers to stand in a goofy line and offer, “bags fly free?” They have processes that make everything from purchasing tickets to flying in their planes a pleasure by making them a non-event. Their competition has the the same processes, but their execution usually cause anxiety and stress. What processes do you have, that address the normally stressful issues in your industry? What do you address that your customers don’t, so that flying with your company is a “non-event.”
Want something inexpensively? Where do you go? Wal-Mart. So how do you leverage your relationships with vendors, subcontractors, suppliers, banks, etc… for the benefit of your clients? Are you ready for a buying consortium? Are you ready to purchase your vendors for the benefit of controlling distribution and pricing?
And how about Apple? During the recession it was the only busy store in the mall. Why? They have more innovative products and their staff is better trained to handle dummies like me. While their competition requires customers to line up in front of cash registers, they used their innovation to equip their sales associates with cash registers on their belts! What is your Apple equivelent process?
Today we must focus on creating loyal customers by adopting the standards and norms customers learn from all industries – especially companies that deliver superior experiences.
Our customers are smarter and expect more. Let’s give it to them!