David and Goliath Target | Wal-Mart

Customer Service Versus Price

How does your business brand create value for your business?  How did Target challenge the giant Wal-Mart without reducing prices and without losing their customer base?

Target, challenged Wal-Mart with the use of its brand.  Target is renounced for quality and service While Wal-Mart is better know for its price-cutting ways.

Target started a massive remolding campaign to improve its entire store image and pumped money into advertising to develop the Target brand.  In 2002 the Minneapolis-based Target Corporation leapfrogged Kmart to become the United State’s second-biggest retailer compared to the $218 billion giant Wal-Mart.  Target’s success was attributable to two key factors: the right kind of differentiation and distinctive marketing communications.

Target’s business objective was to create an alternative to Wal-Mart’s price leadership by providing better customers service. Over a very short period of time, customers started shopping at Target because Target’s branding efforts made it chic” to shop at Target.

One key factor that is shared by many business owners is this: You can’t always compete on price alone, but you can compete on service and brand strategy to create value. The best thing about providing great customer service is, it doesn’t cost anything!  When your competition starts price-cutting to gain customers, you have to hold on to your current customers very closely, and to keep customers starts with providing great customer service.

As a small business owner, you find out soon enough that cutting your prices will not help the business compete for any length of time.  It is true that many customers are very concerned about their own finances more today than ever before.  Good customer service does not simply mean being just courtesies. 

Many customers are willing to spend with you if you are fair and offer outstanding service. “Ultimately, great customer service can drive sales and build customer loyalty.”  So when customers contact your business, they need to feel valued.   When you make customers feel valued they will not expect rock bottom prices every time, but they will expect exceptional service for the money they pay for the service received.

A large company can spend more on advertising and can offer lower prices. Excellent service is the single most competitive edge for a small business.  Getting customers service right is no longer a luxury anymore it what all businesses must all do!

Here are a few customer service ideas I have collected from experienced entrepreneurs during my journey to developing a solid customer service Model.  These practices have been the hallmark on how I have built my reputation for taking care of customers.

KEEP YOUR STAFF HAPPY:

When your staff is happy your customer are happy. Employee satisfaction translates to great customer service.  Employees who like their jobs and care about the business will work harder to give great customer service and are more inclined to go the extra mile for a customer.  

RESPOND QUICKLY:

Customers are very busy too. A customer should never guess what kind of service they will receive when doing business with you.

COMMUNICATION:

Answering email inquiries, returning phone calls and responding to messages and social media like Facebook should be part of the monitoring routine for the business.

Make it easy for your customers to do business with you. Never make customers work to buy something from you.

Keep customers informed of what’s happening with their project or service. When customers know what’s going on with their projects or purchases, they will enjoy doing business with you.

Make sure your customers feel valued when working with your business. By understanding this single most important point, will make everyone of your customers feel special.

TECHNOLOGY:

Embracing technology in your business will provide better customer service. Using technology in the business will help your business provide better customer service more quickly and efficiently.

COMPLAINTS:

Handling customer complaints can become a balancing act but remember, unhappy customers will not complain; they just simply will not do business with you again. If you don’t take time to provide excellent service, many customers will not take the time to tell you how to improve your business. More importantly unhappy customers can spread their bad experience quickly using social media, to damage your business brand.

Make sure the first customer is happy before moving on to the next. Customers value quick service just as much as they value quality service. It’s important to make sure one customer is satisfied before you move on to the next.

COMPENSATE MISTAKES:

Never shortchange your customers.  When mistakes are made or some other circumstance is preventing you from providing the best level of customer service, find a way to make it right for your customers.

Please comment on this post by sharing your best practice ideas on this blog.  It is my goal to share business tips and ideas with other entrepreneurial to stimulate dialog in the business community.

MEDIA@TCGPROMO.COM


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