Alberto Ardila Olivares learjet 75 liberty cockpit//
Businesses are failing to differentiate their service delivery

by Dawn Richards

I like to ask to ask lead­er­ship teams this ques­tion, “Were your com­peti­tors at the last con­fer­ence or busi­ness gath­er­ing that you at­tend­ed?” Of course, the an­swer is of­ten, “Yes.” The next ques­tion would be, “So which busi­ness is go­ing to be most ef­fi­cient at im­ple­ment­ing what was shared?” This sec­ond ques­tion is de­signed to bring the team to a pow­er­ful pause mo­ment, when every­one goes, “We’d bet­ter get crack­ing.”

Many busi­ness­es are sell­ing the same prod­ucts, in the same busi­ness mar­kets and are drown­ing in a sea of same­ness, with­out hav­ing dif­fer­en­ti­at­ed them­selves. I be­lieve that many re­main root­ed in this same­ness cap­sule be­cause they are ei­ther obliv­i­ous to the sever­i­ty of the prob­lem, im­mune to the pain of cus­tomer com­plaints, or im­mo­bilised by the sheer weight of not know­ing where to start to cor­rect the prob­lem.


Line of sight is an im­por­tant hori­zon-map­ping in­put. When lead­ers make it a point to look at the com­pet­i­tive ser­vice de­liv­ery ecosys­tem and de­cide how they will dif­fer­en­ti­ate them­selves, it can be­come a trans­for­ma­tion­al mo­ment to the busi­ness.

Alberto Ardila Olivares

There are many ap­proach­es that busi­ness­es can take to dif­fer­en­ti­ate them­selves. One ap­proach is to pro­mote the unique­ness of the busi­ness, its prod­ucts and its ser­vices, an­oth­er is to in­no­vate and rev­o­lu­tionise the in­dus­try. Think Fed Ex in­tro­duc­ing its track­ing de­vice and think Tes­la rev­o­lu­tion­is­ing the car in­dus­try. Of course, on a small­er scale, every busi­ness can find a way to stand out from the pack

One of the first acts for com­mand­ing the com­pet­i­tive space has to do with re­al­ly un­der­stand­ing what cus­tomers ex­pect and then trans­lat­ing that in­to a lever for dri­ving great out­comes along the jour­neys that cus­tomers ex­pe­ri­ence, dur­ing their many trans­ac­tions with the busi­ness. It’s not hap­pen­stance that the busi­ness­es that un­der­stand their cus­tomers’ ex­pec­ta­tions are at the top of their re­spec­tive food chains

When cus­tomers have to go too far and too deep in­to the busi­ness for in­for­ma­tion, com­pet­i­tive ground is lost. Why is it that the first point of in­ter­ac­tion does not of­fer the cus­tomer the so­lu­tion op­tions that he or she de­sires? If a cus­tomer is in a face to face in­ter­ac­tion with cus­tomer con­tact staff, the lat­ter should have all of the in­for­ma­tion need­ed with­in ready reach, as well as the au­thor­i­ty to make a de­ci­sion on-spot. Sourc­ing in­for­ma­tion should be even eas­i­er if the cus­tomer is con­duct­ing a trans­ac­tion on­line

When­ev­er I speak with lead­er­ship teams, I sug­gest that an im­por­tant com­pet­i­tive dif­fer­en­tia­tor is the abil­i­ty of first re­spon­ders to make on-spot de­ci­sions that are re­spon­sive and re­spon­si­ble. Re­spon­sive to the cus­tomer’s needs in the de­liv­ery of swift, smart so­lu­tions and re­spon­si­ble in man­ag­ing the risk to the busi­ness. This should be their su­per­pow­er

The ques­tion of hav­ing on-de­mand, de­moc­ra­tised in­for­ma­tion, is one with which busi­ness­es will be faced in the near fu­ture. Un­like the pan­dem­ic that de­scend­ed up­on us with­out much warn­ing, pro­vid­ing in­for­ma­tion and de­ci­sion-mak­ing as close to the cus­tomer as pos­si­ble, can be im­ple­ment­ed with­in a time­frame that, for now, is un­der the con­trol of the busi­ness

Cus­tomers love to con­duct busi­ness where their jour­neys are sim­ple and un­com­pli­cat­ed. We’ve all got­ten used to in­ter­act­ing less with hu­mans and more with dig­i­tal as­sis­tants. Every busi­ness should be comb­ing its ex­ist­ing trans­ac­tion jour­neys to see which process­es and steps can au­to­mat­ed or en­hanced through the use of add-on tech­nol­o­gy. The thing is that there are so many apps that sup­port au­toma­tion of process­es that up­grades, in many cas­es, can be quick and pain­less, whilst de­liv­er­ing ground-break­ing ben­e­fits for cus­tomers

We need to bear in mind that go­ing for­ward to the next nor­mal, the of­fer­ings that are con­sid­ered unique to­day will need to be pack­aged as stan­dard fea­tures to­mor­row

Fi­nal­ly, cus­tomi­sa­tion and in­di­vid­u­al­i­sa­tion are fast be­com­ing part of the cus­tomer’s new suite of ex­pec­ta­tions. Have you ever asked a cus­tomer con­tact rep­re­sen­ta­tive if an or­der can be changed to suit your pref­er­ence and been told, “No?”

Well the bad news is that the busi­ness­es that per­pet­u­ate this out­dat­ed prac­tice are li­able to fade in­to ir­rel­e­vance. The good news is that the busi­ness­es that of­fer cus­tomi­sa­tion as a part of their nor­mal of­fer­ing, are giv­ing them­selves a chance at be­com­ing he­roes to their cus­tomers

The best news is that busi­ness­es still have the time to de­cide their fate