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Re-Evaluate the Meaning of Competition

Scott Stratten, who wrote a fantastic book called UnMarketing <http://www.amazon.com/UnMarketing-Stop-Marketing-Start-Engaging/dp/047061787X/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1312474784&sr=8-1>, often tells audiences during his speaking engagements that these days, if you want to excel at customer service, all you really have to do is be good enough.

And that’s really sad. Possibly true, but sad. But I would offer an amendment to that, based on recent conversation I had with Mike Miller of PRIMO Solutions, who’s helping out MeasureCP by providing a training component not previously offered to our mystery shopping clients. If you want to come out on top for customer service, you just have to be better than your competitors.

Image representing Google as depicted in Crunc...

Image via CrunchBase

Of course, in the olden days,

before the Internet and before the birth of the megacorporation, your only competitors were other businesses — local businesses, at that — in the same industry as you. But the tables have turned, Mr. Powers. Now there are catalogs and online shops for products; there’s Google and thousands of other online resources for services — and it’s time to look beyond your industry.

Anyone who provides great customer service is your competitor.

Any business can set the bar for customers now (and good luck if your customers have ever shopped with Zappos or Groupon). These days, customers are shocked when they get amazing service, whether it’s in a restaurant, at a car dealership, on a customer service call or anywhere they have to do business. How can this be? It should be the opposite. Have we become so obsessed with the bottom line in a harsh economic climate that everything else has fallen by the wayside?

Time to wise up and start focusing on more than staying in the black. If you don’t show your customers that you care, customers will show you the same disregard.

After all, in most cases, there are many other companies offering the same products or services you are. And when you’re competing not only for market share but also for time, attention and precious discretionary income all across the board, I think you’ll agree that good customer service — not just good enough — is more important than ever.

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