This is the age of more for less. Or to put it another way, in most business sectors customers expect the quality of service and products to get better and better over time. What they don’t expect, however, is that the improvement will be funded by a sharp increase in costs.
So here’s the conundrum. Even at a time of moderate inflation most companies see their costs rising but don’t necessarily want to pass the increase onto customers. So how do you improve service without undermining your own competitiveness?
And for consumer-facing businesses it’s a dilemma that becomes ever-more acute as e-commerce volumes rise. In the world of bricks and mortar, loyalty is partly based on the strength of a particular brand and relationships built up over time between customers and the merchant. But it’s also based to some extent on proximity. If you live in a town where you have a Boots, Marks and Spencer or John Lewis, that’s where you shop.
On the web, that doesn’t apply. Customers can buy goods from any competitor, regardless of location. Repeat business depends on the whole value proposition, from price, through fulfilment to after-sales service.
Which brings us back to that opening question. How do you offer great service while remaining competitive? Continue reading