Customer Service: The Last Outpost | William Nozak, MBA | Harper’s Hut Shaved Ice
First impressions may be last impressions.
Someone once said your only competition is anyone that improves customer service. So let’s assume this is in the Business-Bible. Let’s create some additional assumptions for the sake of an argument. First, price does not matter up to a certain asymptote. Obviously value, supply chaining, competition, among other things define price in the real world. Secondly, all businesses in a specific vertical are equally matched on everything (no comparative advantage exists i.e. All businesses are innovative or not, location doesn’t matter, etc). This leaves customer service as the last outpost.
Other advantages aside, customer service, price, and innovativion are outposts. How you manage and value these outposts differentiates your business. “The times, they are a changin.'” In ten years, outsourcing, supply chaining, and technology have created global competitors that can beat your price and innovation outposts. Plus, price and innovation are effected more so by external forces than customer service. Minimum wage, insurances, property costs, etc., effect price, and we can only create what we know how i.e. other industries create innovations that positively or negatively affect our innovations.
In any case, we must err on the side of customer service. Customer-service-savvy professionals will dominate industries that once had zero need for the competency. The day of the highly skilled, but deficient in customer service professional is fading; more valuable are the moderately skilled with appreciable customer service skills. Employees must view customer service through three lenses: the customer, the business, and the market, in order to be worthy of competitive wages. Anyone that improves customer service in your vertical is a threat, so, Without these lenses how will your team see them coming? The last outpost is customer service.
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