As a growing business, how can I differentiate from my competitors?
Operating in a highly competitive business environment requires that organisations continually seek to implement effective strategies that set them apart from the rest. Here it is often people and personal relationships that offer the biggest opportunity to differentiate.
Access to the ‘Top Dog’
When it comes to owner-managed businesses, the owner wants direct access to the divisional head or so-called ‘top dog’.
For example, clients want to deal with me personally. Not the business. And they certainly don’t want to correspond via email. Face-to-face or telephonic is how we strive to build and maintain client relationships, and it works. Essentially clients don’t want to be seen as just a number, they want to feel comfortable picking up their phone and calling about any issue, big or small.
This type of personal approach to client relationships serves to work both ways. If our audit staff encounter any issues or have concerns, we too feel comfortable enough in the relationship to raise it with the client and work towards finding a workable solution for both parties.
Taking each individual client’s requirements into account is vital to meeting and maintaining high service levels. You cannot apply a one-size-fits all philosophy when it comes to servicing clients.
All come with their own unique business environments and often each client will have differing expectations of what they expect from a service provider.
Reputation is also a key driver of success. Apart from setting the precedent when it comes to service levels, operating with integrity needs to underpin each and every activity. This comes down to always functioning as an objective and independent advisor.
When it comes to cost, entrepreneurs in general are looking for good service at a not necessarily cheap, but reasonable price. Cutting your profit margin to virtually nil is certainly no guarantee that you will gain market share. Most business owners understand that they are going to pay a little more for superior customer service.
However in this scenario as a service provider you are a lot more likely to enjoy real staying power.