Lack of Service-Ability Kills Competitive Advantage

Shawn Casemore • No Comment
Posted: October 10, 2016

I was boarding a plane back from Ottawa last week and was faced with the reality of having to sit at the “back of the bus” as I call it, last seat at the back of the plane. I was happy to do it though (despite someone presumptuously taking my seat and asking me in turn to take theirs next to the washroom!), just to make it home on an earlier flight.

Despite the unpleasant odors that surrounded me during the flight, the entire experience was a positive one. I had asked a customer service agent at the counter minutes before the flight was to board if I could join the flight – she quickly responded that she’d find me a spot. Once I was on board and noticed that someone had taken my seat, the flight attendant was helpful by jumping in quickly to ensure a prompt resolution of any concerns.

This may sound like a normal experience, but if you fly as much as I do having these two experiences in a single flight are not the norm.

It struck me after considering this experience that it’s often “service-ability” that creates a competitive advantage over any other single factor. Put differently, the better the service for the customer or client (the customer might define “better” as faster, more accurate, more polite, or less confusing, all depending on the situation), the more likely it is that the customer will continue to use the product or service of the company, and tell others about it.

This same experience happened during a recent client interaction. I was assisting my client in expanding his presence into new regions. During meetings with several prospective customers, it became clear that their comments relative to lack of service by their existing providers (defined by many as lack of a presence or periodic check-in) equated to a strong desire by these customers to engage with and seek out new suppliers. They were literally ready to hand over their business simply because their “service-ability” needs hadn’t been met.

Here’s a challenge, in the form of actions you (or your team) can take during the next week:

  1. How do your existing and potential customers define “service-ability?” What matters most to them?
  1. How are you supporting these needs AND how are you educating customers that you are supporting these needs?
  1. What else should or could you be doing to increase “service-ability” in the eyes of your customers?

If you think about it, the following formula really encapsulates the method of building a brand:

Defined Service-ability + Employee Application of Service-ability = Strong Competitive Advantage.

What are you doing to increase your service-ability to customers?

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© Shawn Casemore 2016. All rights reserved.

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