How versus Technology and Price: And the winner is…

I was reading from the Blog,“Trust Matters” The other day. A line caught my attention.  It was one I had heard before and one that holds value still. “Take care of your customers and competition will take care of itself.”

I work in an industry with 6,000 competitors. We compete on a national, regional and at the local levels. (I should add I have worked with some of the very best in the industry, game changers). Over the years, I have watched companies react in different ways to the competition some with more success than others. Success in this case is defined by profit margin and satisfied customers.

The prices in my industry today are 40% of what they were when I started. Rates have declined dramatically in the face of rising labor and postage costs and declining technology and telephone costs. Why, because companies reacted to competitive pressure by being lazy and dropping their price. Their competitors did the same. Over the last 5-years, it has looked like a race to the bottom.

For a long time I was under the impression that if we could gain a technological advantage we could capture and hold market share. What I have learned is that technology and process will give you an advantage short term. If it is a valuable game changer, your competitors will have it or something very similar within 18-months.

So if price is not the answer, (Shrinking margins will not lead to long-term gain) and if technology isn’t the answer, how do we gain and sustain a competitive edge? I believe it is in the how of what we do. Customers remember how we work with them in addition to what we did for them or what they bought from us.

1.    Remember to smile at your customers, you will find that it is catching.
2.    Make it easy to do business with you. Don’t make the customer work to do business with you.
3.    Be open and transparent. A business relationship is like any other; we value those that are open and honest.
4.    I am still a firm believer in the adage if you give more, you will receive more.

Take Good Care,

One Comment:

  1. Hi John,

    There is an old saying, “People don’t do business with businesses. People do business with people.”

    For some people, price will always be the determining factor. And while this group tends to be small in size, they also tend to be loud and vocal, constantly screaming that price is the only real issue. Most people are more thoughtful than that and will place value on the relationship, ease of doing business with you, and especially the way you handle problems when they do arise. And while these customers are not nearly as boisterous in their support as the first group is in their love affair with price, this group of customers is much larger and more profitable. If we can ignore the noise of the minority and not lose sight of servicing the majority, we can build a healthy customer base.

    Thanks again for sharing your thoughts with us.

    Dave

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