Your Customized Service as a Product – The Secret to Earning Customer Loyalty
Normally when you think about a product versus a service, you think about 2 different things:
- A service is something that you get that provides you with immediate, but not lasting value. It is intangible, meaning that you cannot pick it up and touch it or view it.
- A product is something that generally has durable value – or is something you will enjoy for a while. It is also something that is tangible.
For example, when you get your hair cut, you’ll look fantastic for about a day. After that, you’ve got to start maintaining it, so the immediate value you got from the haircut is not durable. On the other hand, if you purchase a mobile phone, the value you get out of it will remain as long as you use the phone.
What if we designed services with the intent of creating lasting value? What if after the purchase was made, the service continued to provide value? What if the service was duplicable, meaning that you could take the same set of steps, repeatedly, producing a similar level of service without commoditizing your offering?
While certain service businesses can productize their service offerings by applying the same customized solution set to each of their clients – which has its benefits in terms of scalability and predictability – not every business can do that. For example, if you are a hairdresser, you cannot treat every person’s hair with the same treatments in order to give your customers the unique care that they come to you for.
In a highly customized service business, what you can customize is the experience. For example, if you have ever been to a Chick-Fil-A, you know that the experience is not just going to be a good experience, it is going to be memorable. Team members will go out of their way to provide excellent memorable experience…which if you can get past the negative effects of fast food, will likely not only bring you back to visit with them again, but also to recommend it to others.
Consider, however, the phenomenon of a good service with a not so great deliverable. Imagine going to the airport, being whisked past TSA, enjoying a great meal at the airport, relaxing in the lounge, being among the first called to get your seat, then find that your seat is quite uncomfortable for whatever reason and you will have to endure it for the 2-hour flight.
The key to creating value that lasts beyond the service experience is to evaluate the entire customer experience, from their initial engagement to delivery of the service, to the follow up after the sale. You will anticipate many of their concerns and know what to do if something happens outside of the norm. It is when we go above and beyond to ensure that our clients have an outstanding experience that we have created value beyond the sale.
In an environment wherein there are many, many competitors and there appears to be little difference between service offerings, understanding your service offering and finding ways to ensure that your service offering carries value beyond the sale takes extra effort. But like Chick-Fil-A, this extra effort is what sits you apart in the marketplace. This is part of what will make yours an Extraordinary Company.
Rick Meekins is the Managing Consultant at Aepiphanni, a Business Consultancy that provides Management Consulting, Implementation and Managed Services to business leaders and entrepreneurs seeking to improve or expand operations. We are the trusted advisor to those seeking forward-thinking operational and strategic solutions to help them plan for and navigate through the challenges of business growth.
If you are ready to discuss how Aepiphanni can help you with business strategy, overcoming challenges to growth or any number of business solutions for your business, whether a small, growing or established company, contact us directly or submit a request for a complimentary Coffee & a Consult to learn how we can help you CREATE | DESIGN | BUILD an Extraordinary company.