Delivering ‘good’ customer care is no longer good enough to gain strategic competetive advantage for your business.You must deliver Customer Service Excellence. Marketing management and innovation should focus every effort on an implementation strategy that achieves this goal.
How do you create long-term, sustainable, business advantage with customer service as the leadership focus ?
Product innovations can be copied, promotional campaigns can be mimicked, as can technology and design advancements.
Developing a Customer Service Excellence(CSE) Culture, however, is an intangible intellectual resource, which is very difficult to copy.
How to create this “intangible” advantage is still, apparently, a mystery to most organisations. The evidence is apparent in the majority of businesses in the world today! Your own experience will ratify this?
Customer clubs and customer loyalty schemes are all in vogue but are, again, easily copied by competitors.
You can only gain strategic advantages, however, relative to your competitors. These days the reasons “Why” and the “What” we need to do are pretty clear to most tuned-in business owners.
The customer service and marketing strategy challenge for most businesses remains with the “How”.
Developing a CSE culture is a total integrated, organisation-wide process.
It’s a mindset.
It’s more an attitude than a procedure.
It must be developed and nurtured over time.
And it is not just for the customer service people. Managing the customer is no longer a function of the customer service department, … it’s evryone’s business from the cashier to the marketing or sales departments. It’s everyone’s job from warehouse staff to the accounts personnel and the telephone receptionist.
Everyone has the responsibility of turning every customer experience into a strategic advantage.
Creating a CSE culture will not happen by telepathy. Because of its “intangibleness”, it requires a slow-slow, drip-drip sales leadership and marketing campaign. The gap between strategic intentions and serving a customer must be bridged. In other words, every single person in the organisation must be a strategic implementor and thinker.
Meet a CSE Strategist Par Excellence
I was recently served in a restaurant by a CSE strategist. This waitress didn’t just do the basics well. She established that I was a local businessman with the potential to bring a lot of repeat business to that restaurant and also had the ability to create a lot of other customers for the restaurant through my sphere of influence. She not only gave CSE but outstanding strategic service.
Feargal Quinn in his book Crowning the Customer, writes “All too often the real energy of the marketing front goes into attracting new customers whilst the ultimately more important task of nurturing the existing customer base gets a lower glamour rating”. Of course he’s right.
Almost half a century ago, Peter Drucker wrote that
“there is only one valid definition of business purpose; to create and keep a customer”.
The purpose may still be the same but, of course, the world has changed dramatically.