Stop Copying the Competition and Set the Pace for Real Service

Neon adboard of a gift shop in Chinatown, San Francisco.

I was driving down the main street where I live and noticed a car coming in the opposite direction with four brand new tires. How could I tell they were new? It was easy. I could see the white stickers revolving on the bottom of them as the car came toward me.

How much longer would it take to remove the white stickers? Perhaps only a few extra minutes are all. So, why didn’t the tire dealer do it? It probably just wasn’t a priority.

Ken Belanger, president of Belanger Tire, a Goodyear tire store in Westland, Mich., makes it a top priority to remove these white stickers. He explains that he wants customers “to see what they get.” Setting the pace means consistently doing the things that count to the customer.

I walked into a bank one day and was greeted by three consecutive employees. It made me feel good to be acknowledged. As simple as that sounds, those bank employees were setting a new pace for other banks to follow. They were doing something different; making their customers feel important.

Mark Salloum, president of Highway Media, a video production company based in Canton, Mich., goes the extra mile when producing his promotional and advertising videos for his clients. He provides every client with a flash drive that has all of the video footage his crew took when they were on site. This way the business has additional material for future updates. It also saves the client from additional costs of having the crew come back out and shoot more video footage.

Jeff Stella of Stella Contracting Inc., a home remodeler and construction company in Plymouth, Mich., takes care of his clients. His company has a powerful guarantee that he firmly stands behind. He promises his clients that if there is a problem with their workmanship or materials, they will make the necessary repairs at no cost to the homeowner. This kind of service guarantee gives the client peace of mind, knowing they will have the job done properly and to their satisfaction.

How about your company? Is it doing the best it can? Is it setting the pace for the competition to follow? Research your competitors and find out what they are doing to serve their customers. Then take it up a few notches. This will do two things. First, it will hold you and your company to a higher standard and will keep you on a growth curve.

Second, it will give your clients the kind of service they are not getting anywhere else.
In the long run, it creates a win-win-win situation. That is where your client wins. They get the best service and the best quality. Next, your employees win because they get to be associated with a company that exceeds industry service standards. And finally, your company wins because you gain and retain more loyal and more profitable clients.