Don’t let the Noise distract you – Every business in every industry has noise, and the vast majority of businesses get distracted by it and lose focus of what is truly important to the Customer. Noise is what is going on that is out of your control: the economy, government regulations, competition that is heavily discounting and not playing by the same rules. In the cab/limo industry it is Uber, in the hotel & resort industry it is Airbnb, in retail it is on-line and Wal-Mart, in the salon industry it is the booth rental salons. Most companies waste their time on trying to figure out how to prevent these companies from entering their markets through lobbying against them, and eventually they just become the victim of pricing wars.
Forget your competition and focus on the Experience – The majority of the time if the Customers were receiving a great experience, the industry wouldn’t be so ripe to attack. When was the last time you had a great cab ride experience? Enter Uber. World-Class Customer service companies spend zero time on what their competition is doing; they focus on how to deliver the best possible experience, constantly raising the bar, so they are not vulnerable to price wars. Here is what Jeff Bezos, CEO of Amazon has to say: “When given the choice of obsessing over competitors or obsessing over Customers, we always obsess over Customers.”
History is repeating itself – Remember back in the day when people used Travel Agencies to book their trips? Whatever happened to them? They became extinct. Why? Because they provided no real value to their Customers, which were the consumers and the airlines. Initially they got paid by the airlines; however, the airlines eliminated the fees because Travel Agents were just order takers, they were not increasing the amount people were traveling. So the Travel Agencies had to pass the fees onto the Customer. However, when the Internet became popular and Customers found that they could book their own flights in just a few minutes and bypass the travel agencies tax, they did.
Travel Concierge – Could the collapse of the travel agency industry have been avoided? Possibly, if they added value to Customers by demonstrating how they differ and how they can provide valuable services unavailable on the Internet. For instance, what if after a consumer booked a flight, the travel agent asked what else was needed, i.e. a hotel room, rental car, tickets for an event, reservations at top restaurants in the area, or sightseeing suggestions? What if your travel agent, the one you used to book your honeymoon, contacted you a few months before your anniversary to offer to help plan an anniversary getaway? Or emailed you a few days ahead to let us know the weather forecast so you’d know how to pack, and offered a traveler’s checklist that reminds you not to forget a passport, driver’s license, or traveler’s checks. Travel agencies could have asked you about your favorite destinations (e.g., Las Vegas) and your dream destinations (e.g., Hawaii), and send you information when they have special rates to those locations. In other words, a travel agency could be considered a travel concierge. If travel agencies had done all that, most people wouldn’t have left them, because the Internet couldn’t match that experience.
Could your business be an endangered species? Do your Customers have the perception that they can get what you do cheaper somewhere else? Stop focusing on being a victim of the price cutters and focus on creating such an incredible experience, that your Customer’s cannot live without you.