16 July 2009

Lessons from other industries

I’ve interviewed business owners and managers in many industries over the last 30 years. The common thread that ties them all together is an emphasis on customer service. These owners create an advantage by knowing their customers, listening to them, responding to them and never taking them for granted.
Look at custom-home builders. They can’t claim advantages in labor or materials. They often share plumbers, carpenters, electricians and other subcontractors. Builders buy the same products—GE appliances, Kohler tubs and Corian counters.
The great builders stand out because of the service they deliver to home buyers. Builders build houses on time and correctly (with no call-backs). They communicate with buyers about the building and closing process so there are no surprises.
Great builders offer services beyond home building. One executive told me his company delivers lunch while the family is moving in and returns to hang pictures.
Home furnishings retailers have access to the same products and sources. Think about your marketing and selling practices. What are you doing in customer service to elevate your store above the competition?

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