In the security guard industry where low price bidders continue to drive down billing rates, companies are increasingly looking for ways to develop a competitive advantage. In this industry there are six main ways to build a competitive advantage: 1) Brand recognition; 2) Corporate reputation; 3) Access to capital; 4) Low pricing; 5) Ability to innovate; and 6) Superior customer service. Of these six, providing superior customer service is the most immediately attainable and impactful.
It is a common misperception that pricing is the most critical factor in determining whether your customers stay or leave. But research continues to show that customer service is generally the most pivotal component of a customer’s decision to leave. So let’s look at what it takes to wow your customers with customer service.
Making Customer Service A Competitive Advantage
In order to make customer service a competitive advantage, we first need to understand what it is. Even though the term customer service has no universal definition, customer service is usually implemented in one of three ways. These ways are generally determined by the level of involvement and commitment to the customer service plan.
Customer Service as a Task
This particular level of customer service treats the customer service function as specific tasks that need to be performed to appease customers. Creating departments that are assigned to handle customer issues and complaints represent this level of customer service.
Customer Service as a Metric
This customer service level focuses on evaluating customer service based on metrics. These metrics may include things like the percentage of positive surveys or maintaining a certain client retention rate. While this level is better than treating customer service as a task, in order to make it a competitive advantage your company needs to see past the metrics. It is critical that you ensure that the metrics actually translate into satisfied customers. Satisfied customers are the only way to truly achieve overall success.
Customer Service as a Mantra
When you adopt great customer service as a mantra, it elevates the customer service responsibility across your entire company. It also helps ensures that everyone is focused on achieving the highest levels of customer satisfaction. When customer service becomes a mantra, your whole organization becomes committed to the idea of providing great customer service as a part of every process. Every department will begin to focus on developing ways to ensure a great customer experience when dealing with clients.
If you commit to making customer service your competitive advantage, here are a few tips that are applicable to every department within your organization:
- Always empathize with your customers if they are encountering issues.
- Always show your appreciation for your customer’s continued business.
- Make it easy for your customers to reach any level or person within your organization.
- Ensure that EVERY interaction that you have with your customers is authentic and receives a personal touch.
If your organization is truly committed to making customer service your competitive advantage, ensure that every interaction with your customers adds benefit to the relationship and maximizes its value.
What difficulties have you encountered implementing your customer service plans? Is customer service part of your quality assurance plan? Please leave your comments below, we would love to hear from you.
By Courtney Sparkman