Sometimes it’s helpful to ask yourself big questions before altering business plans or changing how the business operates. Ask things like: What makes your company so different? Does your team know? Can and do they tell others with enthusiasm? Can your customers define that differentiation and quantify it in their own words? Tough darn questions to ponder for an owner or leader.
However, they are questions you need to understand to truly focus your company and team. If we do not address the tough questions you are not being a leader. People will follow strength and manipulate weakness to their advantage. I know that may sound a bit harsh, but as a Marine it’s true.
Deal with it now or later, your choice. Quality companies are hard to define, but you know them when you see them and experience them. They make you feel different, appreciated, special and important in a memorable way, without excuses.
They deliver with grace in unexpected ways, even when they screw up. These are the companies that you will proactively promote to friends, family and associates. How many customers do you have that do that for your company today?
Let’s work on expanding that category by differentiating your brand with greater clarity. Clarity with the leadership team, the management team and most importantly the troops that do daily battle in the trenches. How does this journey begin?
Setting High Expectations and Thinking Outside the Box
It begins with the clarity of your vision, core values and commitment to be a different kind of company … a better company. One that attracts the best talent that will breathe your core values as effortlessly as they breathe the air around them.
This begins with a good communication process that delivers consistently and flawlessly with a smile. Yes, easier said than done, but know that it can be done. This mission, should you choose to accept it, takes setting high expectations, starting with yourself.
Then adopt a simple communication process, invest in training, personal accountability, review progress, get feedback and then coach like hell. Make this part of your performance reviews and hiring practices. OK, theory is great, but how about a great real-world example?
Safelite AutoGlass is an Ohio-based company that innovates customer service to new levels and leverages excellent communication to differentiate themselves and build their brand. They differentiated themselves by delivering convenience, respect and business value with consistency.
Got a chipped windshield? They will come to your vehicle at home or at work, and around your busy schedule. Want even better customer service and security? They proactively text you a picture of the technician who will be showing up and the approximate time they will arrive. Their technician will also communicate directly with the customer.
Did Uber or Lyft borrow a page from this playbook? Outstanding service, value and proactive communication has built their brand. They earned a 4.9-star customer satisfaction rating with 306 reviews at a local location. Not too shabby! How does this translate as differentiated business value in their customer and partner’s eyes?
Driving around with a bad windshield can earn you a ticket. It can diminish your safety as a driver. Catching and repairing a chip before it spreads and having your insurance company pay, without a deductible, certainly makes my wallet smile. Yours?
They sold the business value of their services to their strategic customers, big insurance companies. That eliminated agent engagement time, estimates, administrative work to process claims, unhappy customers or worse, replacing an entire windshield. The moral to this story?
Be innovative, think outside the box, use technology, sell business value first and proactively communicate. It may be easier than you think to differentiate your security company and become a brand legend in your world. Start by asking your customers why they chose to do business with your company.
After they share the love, dig a bit deeper to ask them how you make their lives simpler, easier or better. Pay close attention to the words they chose and what those words mean to them. Bingo, you have begun the first step in your journey in defining how you are different than your competitors. Market that business value in your customer’s words; it will be powerful!
Choose to differentiate your company or choose to compete on price. We all must make choices in business, choose wisely.
Paul C. Boucherle, Certified Protection Professional (CPP) and Certified Sherpa Coach (CSC), is CE Pro sister publication Security Sales & Integration’s “Business Fitness” columnist. A principal of Matterhorn Consulting, he has more than 30 years of diverse security and safety industry experience including UL central station operations, risk-vulnerability assessments, strategic security program design and management of industry convergence challenges.